Skip to main content

Full text of "Old diary leaves, the true story of the Theosophical Society"

See other formats



OF THE ••'• 









Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 







'T is strange — but true ; for truth is always strange ; 
Stranger than fiction." 





(. cu 1;' i 

Copyright, 1895 


Entered at Stationers' Hall. London 

tTbe tcnfcherboclier ipreee, tXew Iftocbelle, tl. ]^. 


IN the history of public bodies, the chapter which 
relates the origin and vicissitudes of the Theosoph- 
ical Society should be unique. Whether viewed from 
the friendly or the unfriendly standpoint, it is equally 
strange that such a body should have come into existence 
when it did, and that it has not only been able to withstand 
the shocks it has had, but actually to have grown stron- 
ger proportionately with the bitter unfairness of its ad- 
versaries. One class of critics say that this fact strikingly 
proves a recrudescence of human credulity, and a 
religious unrest which is preliminary to a final subsid- 
ence upon Western conservative lines. The other see 
in the progress of the movement the sign of a world-wide 
acceptance of Eastern philosophical ideas, which must 
work for the reinvigoration and incalculable broadening 
of the spiritual sympathies of mankind. The patent, 
the undeniable fact is, that up to the close of the year 
1894, as the result of but nineteen years of activity, 
charters had been granted for 394 branches of the 
Society, in almost all parts of the habitable globe ; and 
that those issued in that latest year outnumbered the 

iv Foreword 

yearly average since the foundation, in 1875, by 29.9 per 
cent. Statistically viewed, the relentless and unfair 
attack vvrhich the Society for Psychical Research and the 
Scottish Missionaries delivered against it in 1884, and 
which it was hoped would destroy it, merely resulted in 
very largely augmenting its prosperity and usefulness. 
The latest assault — that through the Westminster 
Gazette — must inevitably have the same ending. The 
simple reason is that, however thoroughly the private 
faults and shortcomings of its individual leaders may be 
exposed, the excellence of the Society's ideas is not im- 
pugned in the least. To kill the Theosophical Society, 
it is first necessary to prove its declared objects hostile 
to the public welfare, the teacliings of its spokesmen 
pernicious and demoralising. It being impossible to do 
either the one or the other, the world takes the Society 
as a great fact, a distinct individuality, which is neither 
to be condemned nor applauded because of the merit or 
demerit of its representative personalities. This truth 
begins to force itself upon outsiders. One of the ablest 
among contemporary journalists, Mr. W. T. Stead, said 
in Borderland^ in the course of a digest of these " Old 
Diary Leaves " as they originally appeared in the Theos- 
ophist, that nobody now cares whether the Coulomb 
and S. P. R. charges of trickery against Madame Bla- 
vatsky were true or false ; her worst enemies being 
unable to deny her the credit of having aifected modern 
philosophical thought to an extraordinary degree by 
popularising certain noble Eastern ideas. The same 


holds with respect to her many colleagues, who, like her- 
self, have spread these ancient teachings through the 
medium of the Theosophical Society. This wonderful 
organisation, which grew out of a commonplace parlour 
gathering in a \e\v York house, in the year 1S75, has 
already made for itself such a record that it must be in- 
cluded in an)' veracious history of our times. Its 
development having gone on by virtue of an inherent 
force, rather than as the result of astute foresight and 
management ; and having been so closely — for some 
years almost exclusively, connected with the personal 
efforts of its two founders, Madame Wavatsky and my- 
self, it will perhaps help the future historian if the sur- 
vivor sets down truthfully and succinctly the necessary 
facts. The series of chapters which now compose this 
book was begun nearly three years ago in the T/n-osofhist 
magazine, and a second series, devoted to the history of 
the Society after the transfer to India, is now in progress. 
The controlling impulse to prepare these papers was a 
desire to combat a growing tendency within the Society 
to deify Mme. Blavatsky, and to give her commonest lit- 
erarj' productions a quasi-inspirational character. Her 
transparent faults were being blindly ignored, and the 
pinchbeck screen of pretended authority drawn between 
her actions and legitimate criticism. Those who had 
least of her actual confidence, and hence knew least of her 
private character, were the greatest offenders in this 
direction. It was but too evident that unless I spoke 
out what I alone knew, the true histon- of our movement 

VI I'on-word 

(Diilcl iii'vrr l)c w'lillcii, iioi lliit ;ic iiicill of iny vvon- 
(li.-rful collcif^iK.' lire oiiii: known. In tliciu- |i.'ij-',i'' ' li.'i-vi-, 
tlirrcforc, t(jld till- Initli uhoiil ili;r and .iImhiI IIm- lie-in 
nings of the Soi irty Iriitli whii li noUody c-in |.',.-Mns;iy. 
I'lacinj; as liltli: value il|Kin llir |irai:,c as iipcjii llic hlanii- 
of third partii.'S, and liaving ail my Idc ln:cn :\( i iislomcd 
l(; act according lo what I have: rc:^.^■lrd(■d as duly, 1 liavc' 
not slirunk from fai iiif^ llic,- willci.s plrasantric-s cif lliosc- 
who rcj^ard mc as a dilpc;, a, liar, or a Irailcjr. 'llic- aliso- 
liitc: iininiportanc c- cjf olhcrs' cjpinions as a. fac lor in |)ro 
inoting individual dc'vidopimait is :.o |ilain lo my mind, 
that I have; piirsiiial my prc;s(:ril task lo ill; (omphiicjn, 
dc;spiti; the; f;i( t that some; cif my most iii(liii;nti;il c c;l- 
Icagues have;, fremi wh:it I c.onsidc-r mislaken loyalty to 
"II. I'. I;.," s(;c.retly trie;d to eh-stroy my inflnian (;, ruin 
my repiitatiejii, ri'diue; ihi; e ire.iikil ion ol my mag;i/inc, 
and [)re;ve;nt thu j^uhlie- ;ilion of my ]iniik. C'onh(h-iiti;d 
warnings h;; b'-e-n oire iila|e:d ;i|_'ainsl me-, ;infl the; ' iirri;nt 
niimhe;rs of the 7'/uvjs///i//i\/ Inive; lje;(;ii rcmoveel from 
Branch re;ading-room l;jhle;s. 'i'his is ' hild's jday : the; 
truth never yet h;irrne;d ;i ^'/)(;d < aiise;, nor h;is ine;r;d 

COWardi'.e; e;vcr he;lpe.-fl ;i l,ad one;. 

Mrs. Oliphant in her lAlrrdry lli'.liiry of /■'jii'Jdinl, 
(iii., 2^3,) says of I'.enthan just what m;iy l,i: s;iid of II. 
1'. li : "It is e;vide:nt that he; had an inslirif \. like that of 
thej An(.ie;nt Mariner, for the men who were; h(,rn to Ins-ir 
and iiride;rstane] hirn, anel gre;;it re;idini-ss in adopting 
into his affcf.tion;; e;ve;ry ne;w not;ibility wliom la: approved 
of, . l/i; ree- e;ivi:d ;i n a m'iil n t of se:rvi< e; and de;ve;- 

Foreword vii 

tion, which few of the greatest of mankind have gained 
from their fellow-creatures.'' 

Where was there a human being of such a mixture as 
this mysterious , this fascinating, this light-bringing H. P. 
B. ? Where can we find a personality so remarkable and 
so dramatic ; one which so clearly presented at its oppo- 
site sides the divine and the human ? Karma forbid 
that I should do her a feather-weight of injustice, but if 
there ever existed a person in history who was a greater 
conglomeration of good and bad, light and shadow, wis- 
dom and indiscretion, spiritual insight and lack of com- 
mon sense, I cannot recall the name, the circumstances 
or the epoch. To have known her was a liberal educa- 
tion, to have worked with her and enjoyed her intimacy, 
an experience of the most precious kind. She was too 
great an occultist for us to measure her moral stature. 
She compelled us to love her, however much we might 
know her faults ; to forgive her, however much she might 
have broken her promises and destroyed our first belief 
in her infallibility. And the secret of this potent spell 
was her undeniable spiritual powers, her evident devo- 
tion to the Masters whom she depicted as almost super- 
natural personages, and her zeal for the spiritual 
uplifting of humanity by the power of the Eastern 
Wisdom. Shall we ever see her like again ? Shall we 
see herself again within our time under some other 
guise ? Time will show. H. S. Olcott. 

Ootacamund, 1895. 



Foreword ........ iii 

I. First Meeting of the Founders i 

II. Madame Blavatsky in America 27 

III. Philadelphia Phenomena 40 

IV. Madame Blavatsky's Second Marriage 52 
V. Spiritualism . . . . 66 

VI. Oriental Disapprobatiox . 82 
VII. Dr. Slade ... . . loi 
VIII. Theosophical Society Proposed . 113 
IX. Formation of the Theosophical So- 
ciety ... ... 126 

X. Baron de Palm 147 

XI. The First Cremation in America . 166 
XII. Putative Author of "Art Magic" 185 
XIII. " Isis Unveiled " . . 202 
XIV. Different Hypotheses . . 220 
XV. Apparent Possession by Foreign Enti- 
ties 236 


X Contents 


XVI. Definition of Terms . . . 255 

XVII. Re-incarnation 277 

XVIII. Early Days of the Society . 298 

XIX. Conflicting Views . . . 304 

XX. Conflicting Views {Continued}) . . 319 

XXI. New York Headquarters . . . 330 

XXII. Various Phenomena Described . 343 

XXIII. Precipitations of Pictures . . 358 

XXIV. Projection of the Double . . 374 
XXV. SwAMi DyAnand 394 

XXVI. Madame Blavatsky at Home . . 408 

XXVII. Illusions 429 

XXVIII. Character Sketch of Madame Bla- 
vatsky . .... 449 
XXIX. Madame Blavatsky Becomes an 
American Citizen. Formation of 
the British Theosophical Society. 
Last Days in New York. The 
Founders Sail for India . . 464 
Index 485 


O'Donovan's Bronze Medallion of Madame 

Blavatsky Frontispiece 

Fac-simile of the Cover of a Letter Phe- 
nomenally Delivered 7,(1 

A Flower-Born Gold Ring .... 96 

Original of the Pretended Portrait of 

" Chevalier Louis " . . . . 198 

Copy Phenomenally Produced by Madame 

Blavatsky . . .... 198 

Two Locks of Hair Cut by Author from H. 

P. B.'s Head on the Same Evening . 268 
A Corner of a Crepe Handkerchief . . 340 
Hybrid Sugar-Tongs Phenomenally Produced 346 
Original Letter from M. A. Oxon . . 352 
Duplicate Phenomenally Produced . . 352 
The Picture on Satin Representing the Par- 
tial Evolution of the Double . . . 364 
Portrait of M. A. Oxon, which the Satin 

Picture Resembles 364 

Phenomenally Produced Portrait of an In- 
dian Yogi . . .... 368 

A Corner of a Mahatma's Turban . . . 434 

A Wall-Picture IN Dried Leaves ., . . 456 

Caricatures on Playing Cards .... 472 




SINCE I am to tell the ston- of the birth and progress 
of the Theosophical Society, I must begin at the 
beginning, and tell how its two founders first met. It 
was a very prosaic incident : I said " Permettez mot, 
Mada>!ie," and gave her a light for her cigarette ; our 
acquaintance began in smoke, but it stirred up a great 
and permanent fire. The circumstances which brought 
us together were peculiar, as I shall presently explain. 
The facts have been partly published before. 

One day, in the month of July, 1874, I was sitting in 
my lav.--office thinking over a heai-y case in which I had 
been retained by the Corporation of the City of New 
York, when it occurred to me that for years I had paid 
no attention to the Spiritualist movement. I do not 

2 Old Diary Leaves 

know what association of ideas made my mind pass from 
the mechanical construction of water-metres to Modern 
Spiritualism, but, at all events, I went around the corner 
to a dealer's ^.nd bought a copy of the Banner of Light. 
In it I read an account of certain incredible phenomena, 
viz., the solidification of phantom forms, which were said 
to be occurring at a farm-house in the township of Chit- 
tenden, in the State of Vermont, several hundred miles 
distant from New York. I saw at once that, if it were 
true that visitors could see, even touch and converse 
with, deceased relatives who had found means to recon- 
struct their bodies and clothing so as to be temporarily 
solid, visible, and tangible, this was the most important 
fact in modern physical science. I determined to go 
and see for myself. I did so, found the story true, 
stopped three or four days, and then returned to New 
York. I wrote an account of my observations to the 
New York Sun, which was copied pretty much through- 
out the whole world, so grave and interesting were the 
facts. A proposal was then made to me by the Editor 
of the New York Daily Graphic to return to Chittenden 
in its interest, accompanied by an artist to sketch under 
my orders, and to make a thorough investigation of 
the affair. The matter so deeply interested me that I 
made the necessary disposition of office engagements, 
and on September 17th was back at the "Eddy Home- 
stead," as it was called from the name of the family who 
owned and occupied it. I stopped in that house of 
mystery, surrounded by phantoms and having daily ex- 

First Meeting of the Founders 3 

periences of a most extraordinary character, for about 
twelve weeks — if my memory serves me. Meanwhile, 
twice a week there appeared in the Daily Graphic my 
letters about the " Eddy ghosts," each one illustrated 
with sketches of spectres actually seen by the artist, Mr. 
Kappes, and myself, as well as by every one of the per- 
sons — sometimes as many as forty — present in the 
" s6ance-room." * It was the publication of these letters 
which drew Madame Blavatsky to Chittenden, and so 
brought us together. 

I remember our first day's acquaintance as if it were 
yesterday ; besides which, I have recorded the main 
facts in my book {^People from the Other Worla, pp. 293 
et seq). It was a sunny day and even the gloomy old 
farm-house looked cheerful. It stands amid a lovely 
landscape, in a valley bounded by grassy slopes that rise 
into mountains covered to their very crests with leafy 
groves. This was the time of the " Indian Summer," 
when the whole country is covered with a faint bluish 
haze, like that which has given the " Nilgiri " mountains 
their name, and the foliage of the beeches, elms, and 
maples, touched by early frosts, has been turned from 
green into a mottling of gold and crimson that gives the 
landscape the appearance of being hung all over with 
royal tapestries. One must go to America to see this 
autumnal splendour in its full perfection. 

* In People from the Other World I have described all these 
phenomena and the tests against fraud which I invented and 

4 Old Diary Leaves 

The dinner hour at Eddy's was noon, and it was from 
the entrance door of the bare and comfortless dining- 
room that Kappes and I first saw H. P. B. She had ar- 
rived shortly before noon with a French Canadian lady, 
and they were at table as we entered. My eye was" first 
attracted by a scarlet Garibaldian shirt the former wore, 
as in vivid contrast with the dull colours around. Her 
hair was then a thick blond mop, worn shorter than the 
shoulders, and it stood out from her head, silken-soft 
and crinkled to the roots, like the fleece of a Cotswold 
ewe. This and the red shirt were what struck my atten- 
tion before I took in the picture of her features. It was 
a massive Calmuck face, contrasting in its suggestion of 
power, culture, and imperiousness, as strangely with the 
commonplace visages about the room as her red gar- 
ment did with the grey and white tones of the walls and 
woodwork and the dull costumes of the rest of the 
guests. All sorts of cranky people were continually 
coming and going at Eddy's to see the mediumistic 
phenomena, and it only struck me on seeing this eccen- 
tric lady that this was but one more of the sort. Pausing 
on the door-sill, I whispered to Kappes, " Good gra- 
cious ! look at that specimen, will you." I went straight 
across and took a seat opposite her to indulge my 
favourite habit of character-study. * The two ladies con- 

* In a chain-shot hit at an American vituperator, she draws the 
following amusing portrait of herself: "An old woman — whether 
forty, fifty, sixty, or ninety years old, it matters not ; an old woman 
whose Kalmuco-Buddhisto-Tartaric features, even in youth, never 
made her appear pretty ; a woman, whose ungainly garb, uncouth 

First Meeting of the Founders 5 

versed in French, making remarks of no consequence, 
but I saw at once from her accent and fluency of speech 
that, if not a Parisian, she must at least be a finished 
French scholar. Dinner over, the two went outside the 
house and Madame Blavatsky rolled herself a cigarette, 
for which I gave her a light as a pretext to enter into 
conversation. My remark having been made in French, 
we fell at once into talk in that language. She asked 
me how long I had been there and what I thought of the 
phenomena ; saying that she herself was greatly inter- 
ested in such things, and had been drawn to Chittenden 
by reading the letters in the Daily Graphic : the public 
were growing so interested in these that it was sometimes 
impossible to find a copy of the paper on the book-stalls 
an hour after publication, and she had paid a dollar for 
a copy of the last issue. " I hesitated before coming 
here," she said, "because I was afraid of meeting that 
Colonel Olcott.'" " Why should you be afraid of him, 
Madame ? " I rejoined. " Oh ! because I fear he might 
write about me in his paper." I told her that she might 
make herself perfectly easy on that score, for I felt quite 
sure Col. Olcott would not mention her in his letters 
unless she wished it. And I introduced myself. We be- 
came friends at once. Each of us felt as if we were of 
the same social world, cosmopolitans, free-thinkers, and 
in closer touch than with the rest of the company, intel- 

manners, and masculine habits are enough to frighten any bustled 
and corseted fine lady of fashionable society out of her wits." [ Viiie 
her letter " The Knout" to the J?. P. Journal oi March i6, 1878.] 

6 Old Diary Leaves 

ligent and very worthy as some of them were. It was 
the voice of common sympathy with the higher occult 
side of man and nature ; the attraction of soul to soul, 
not that of sex to sex. Neither then, at the commence- 
ment, nor ever afterwards had either of us the sense of 
the other being of the opposite sex. We were simply 
chums ; so regarded each other, so called each other. 
Some base people from time to time, dared to suggest 
that a closer tie bound us together, as they had that that 
poor, malformed, persecuted H. P. B. had been the mis- 
tress of various other men, but no pure person could hold 
to such an opinion after passing any time in her com- 
pany, and seeing how her every look, word, and action 
proclaimed her sexlessness.* 

Strolling along with my new acquaintance, we talked 
together about the Eddy phenomena and those of other 
lands. I found she had been a great traveller and seen 
many occult things and adepts in occult science, but at 
first she did not give me any hint as to the existence of 
the Himalayan Sages or of her own powers. She spoke 
of the materialistic tendency of American Spiritualism, 
which was a sort of debauch of phenomena accom- 
panied by comparative indifference to philosophy. 
Her manner was gracious and captivating, her criti- 
cisms upon men and things original and witty. She 

* I hold to this same view despite the pretended confessions of 
early misconduct, contained in certain letters of hers to a Russian 
gentleman and recently published in a work entitled A Modern 
Priestess of his. In short, I believe my estimate of her sexual 
purity to be true and her pretended revelations false— mere bravado. 

First Meeting of the Founders 7 

was particularly interested in drawing me out as to 
my own ideas about spiritual things and expressed 
pleasure in finding that I had instinctively thought 
along the occult lines which she herself had pur- 
sued. It was not as an Eastern mystic, but rather as 
a refined Spiritualist that she talked. For my part I 
knew nothing then, or next to nothing, about East- 
ern philosophy, and at first she kept silent on that 

The stances of William Eddy, the chief medium 
of the family, were held every evening in a large 
upstairs hall, in a wing of the house, over the dining- 
room and kitchen. He and a brother, Horatio, were 
hard-working farmers ; Horatio attending to the out- 
door duties, and William, since visitors came pouring 
in upon them from all parts of the United States, 
doing the cooking for the household. They were 
poor, ill-educated, and prejudiced — sometimes surly to 
their unbidden guests. At the farther end of the 
seance-hall the deep chimney from the kitchen below 
passed through to the roof. Between it and the north 
wall was a narrow closet of the same width as the 
depth of the chimney, 2 feet 7 inches, in which Wil- 
liam Eddy would seat himself to wait for the phe- 
nomena. He had no seeming control over them, but 
merely sat and waited for them to sporadically occur. 
A blanket being hung across the doorway, the closet 
would be in perfect darkness. Shortly after William 
had entered the cabinet, the blanket would be pulled 

8 Old Diary Leaves 

aside and forth would step some figure of a dead 
man, woman or child — an animate statue so to say — 
temporarily solid and substantial, but the next minute 
resolved back into nothingness or invisibility. They 
would occasionally dissolve away while in full view 
of the spectators. 

Up to the time of H. P. B.'s appearance on the scene, 
the figures which had shown themselves were either Red 
Indians, or Americans or Europeans akin to visitors. 
But on the first evening of her stay spooks of other 
nationalities came before us. There was a Georgian 
servant boy from the Caucasus ; a Mussulman mer- 
chant from Tiflis ; a Russian peasant girl, and others. 
Another evening there appeared a Kourdish cavalier 
armed with scimitar, pistols, and lance ; a hideously 
ugly and devilish-looking negro sorcerer from Africa, 
wearing a coronet composed of four horns of the oryx 
with bells at their tips, attached to an embroidered, 
highly coloured fillet which was tied around his head ; 
and a European gentleman wearing the cross and collar 
of St. Anne, who was recognised by Madame Blavatsky 
as her uncle. The advent of such figures in the stance- 
room of those poor, almost illiterate Vermont farmers, 
who had neither the money to buy theatrical proper- 
ties, the experience to employ such if they had had 
them, nor the room where they could have availed of 
them, was to every eye-witness a convincing proof that 
the apparitions were genuine. At the same time they 
show that a strange attraction to call out these images 

First Meeting of the Founders 9 

from what Asiatics call the Kama-loka attended Ma- 
dame Blavatsky. It was long afterwards that I was 
informed that she had evoked them by her own de- 
veloped and masterful power. She even affirms the 
fact in a written note, in our T. S. Scrap-book, Vol. I., 
appended to a cutting from the (London) Spiritualist 
of January, 1875. 

While she was at Chittenden she told me many in- 
cidents of her past life, among others, her having been 
present as a volunteer, with a number of other Euro- 
pean ladies, with Garibaldi at the bloody battle of 
Mentana. In proof of her story she showed me where 
her left arm had been broken in two places by a saber- 
stroke, and made me feel in her right shoulder a musket- 
bullet, still imbedded in the muscle, and another in her 
leg. She also showed me a scar just below the heart 
where she had been stabbed with a stiletto. This wound 
reopened a little while she was at Chittenden, and it was 
to consult me about it that she was led to show it to me. 
She told me many curious tales of peril and adventure, 
among them the story of the phantom African sorcerer 
with the oryx-horn coronet, whom she had seen in life 
doing phenomena in Upper Egypt, many years before. 

H. P. B. tried her best to make me suspect the value 
of William Eddy's phenomena as proofs of the intelli- 
gent control of a medium by spirits ; telling me that, 
if genuine, they must be the double of the medium 
escaping from his body and clothing itself with other 
appearances ; but I did not believe her. I contended 

lo Old Diary Leaves 

that the forms were of too great diversities of height, 
bulk, and appearance to be a masquerade of William 
luldy ; they must be what they seemed, inz., the sjiirits 
of the dead. Our disputes were quite warm on occa- 
sions, for at that time I had not gone deep enough 
into the question of the plastic nature of the human 
Double to see the force of her hints, while of the 
Eastern theory of Maya I did not know its least iota. 
The result, however, was, as she told me, to convince 
her of my disposition to accejit nothing on trust and 
to cling pertinaciously lo such facts as I had, or thought 
I had acquired. We became greater friends day by d.iy, 
and by the time she was ready lo leave Chittenden she 
had accepted from me the nick-name "Jack," and so 
signed herself in her Icltcrs to me from New York. 
When we parted it was as good friends likely lo con- 
tinue the acquaintance thus jjleasantly begun. 

In November, 1874, when my researches were fin- 
ished, I returned lo New York and called upon her 
at her lodgings at 16 Irving Place, where she gave 
me some sc^ances of table-ti])ping and rapjiing, spell- 
ing out messages of sorts, principally from an in- 
visible intelligence calling itself " John King." This 
pseudonym is one that has been familiar lo frequent- 
ers of niediumistic stances these forty years past, all 
over the world. It was first heard of in 1850, in the 
"spirit room" of Jonathan Koons, of Ohio, where it 
])retended to be a ruler of a tribe or tribes of sj^irils. 
Later on, it said it was the earth-haunting soul of Sir 

First Meeting of the Founders ii 

Henry Morgan, the famous buccaneer, and as such it 
introduced itself to me. It showed its face and tur- 
ban-wrapped head to me at Philadelphia, during the 
course of my investigations of the Holmes mediums, 
in association with the late respected Robert Dale 
Owen, General F. J. Lippitt and Madame Blavatsky 
{vide People from the Other World, Part II.), and both 
spoke and wrote to me, the latter frequently. It had 
a quaint handwriting, and used queer old English ex- 
pressions. I thought it a veritable John King then, 
for its personality had been as convincingly proved to 
me, I fancied, as anybody could have asked. But 
now, after seeing what H. P. B. could do in the way 
of producing mayavic {i. e., hypnotic) illusions and in 
the control of elementals, I am persuaded that " John 
King " was a humbugging elemental, worked by her 
like a marionette and used as a help towards my 
education. Understand me, the phenomena were real, 
but they were done by no disincarnate huiiian spirit. 
Since writing the above, in fact, I have found the 
proof, in her own handwriting, pasted in our Scrap- 
book, Vol. I. 

She kept up the illusion for months — just hov, 
many I cannot recollect at this distance of time — 
and I saw numbers of phenomena done as alleged 
by John King — as, for example, the whole remark- 
able series at the Philadelphia residence of tlie 
Holmeses and that of H. P. B. herself, above re- 
ferred to. He was first, John King, an independent 

12 Old Diary Leaves 

personality, then John King, messenger and servant 
— never the equal — of living adepts, and finally an 
elemental pure and simple, employed by H. P. B. 
and a certain other expert in the doing of wonders. 

It is useless to deny that, throughout the early part of 
her American residence, she called herself a spiritualist 
and warmly defended Spiritualism and its mediums from 
their sciolistic and other bitter traducers. Her letters 
and articles in various American and English journals 
contain many evidences of her occupying that posi- 
tion. Among other examples, I will simply quote the 
following : 

" As it is, I have only done my duty ; first, towards 
Spiritualism, that I have defended as well as I could 
from the attacks of imposture under the too transparent 
mask of science ; then towards two helpless, slandered 
mediums. . . . But I am obliged to confess that I 
really do not believe in having done any good — to 
Spiritualism itself. . . . It is with a profound sadness in 
my heart that I acknowledge this fact, for I begin to 
think there is no help for it. For over fifteen years have 
I fought my battle for the blessed truth ; have travelled 
and preached it — though I never was born for a lecturer 
— from the snow-covered tops of the Caucasian Moun- 
tains, as well as from the sandy valleys of the Nile. I 
have proved the truth of it practically and by persuasion. 
For the sake of Spiritualism I have left my home, an 
easy life amongst a civilised society, and have become a 
wanderer upon the face of the earth. I had already seen 

First Meeting of the Founders 13 

my hopes realised, beyond my most sanguine expecta- 
tions, when my unlucky star brought me to America. 
Knowing this country to be the cradle of Modern 
Spiritualism, I came over here from France with feelings 
not unlike those of a Mohammedan approaching the 
birthplace of his Prophet," etc., etc. (Letter of H. P. 
B. to the Spiritualist of December 13, 1874.) 

The two " helpless mediums " alluded to were the 
Holmeses, of whose moral quality I have always had the 
poorest opinion. Yet, in H. P. B.'s presence I witnessed, 
under my own test conditions, along with the late Robert 
Dale Owen and General Lippitt, a series of most con- 
vincing and satisfactory mediumistic phenomena. I half 
suspected then that the power that produced them came 
from H. P. B., and that if the Holmeees alone had been 
concerned, I should either have seen tricks or nothing. 
Now, in hunting over the old scrap-books, I find in H. 
P. B.'s MSS. the following memorandum, which she evi- 
dently meant to be published after her death : 


" Yes, I am sorry to say that I had to identify myself, 
during that shameful exposure of the Holmes mediums, 
with the Spiritualists. I had to save the situation, for [ 
was sent from Paris to America on purpose to prove the 
phenomena and their reality, and show the fallacy of the 
spiritualistic theory of spirits. But how could I do it 
best ? I did not want people at large to know that I 
could produce the same things at will. I had received 

14 Old Diary Leaves 

orders to the contrary, and yet I had to keep alive the 
reality, the genuineness and possibility of such phenom- 
ena, in the hearts of those who from Materialists had 
turned Spiritualists, but now, owing to the exposure of 
several mediums, fell back again, returned to their scep- 
ticism. This is wh)', selecting a few of the faithful, I 
went to the Holmeses, and, helped by M. and his power, 
brought out the faces of John King and Katie King 
from the Astral Light, produced the phenomena of ma- 
terialisation, and allowed the spiritualists at large to be- 
lieve it was done through the medium of Mrs. Holmes. 
She was terribly frightened herself, for she knew that this 
once the apparition was real. Did I do wrong ? The 
world is not prepared yet to understand the philosophy 
of Occult Science ; let them first assure themselves that 
there are beings in an invisible world, whether ' Spirits ' 
of the dead or elementals ; and that there are hidden 
powers in man which are capable of making a god of him 
on earth. 

" When I am dead and gone people will, perhaps, ap- 
preciate my disinterested motives. I have pledged my 
word to help people on to Truth while living, and I will 
keep my word. Let them abuse and revile me ; let 
some call me a medium and a Spiritualist, others an 
impostor. The day will come when posterity will learn 
to know me better. Oh, poor, foolish, credulous, 
wicked world ! " 

The whole thing is here made plain : the Spiritualism 

First Meeting of the Founders 

5he 5e-: to Acier^cj. to profess .md n.tim.itelv rrir; 
to the oncer Western "edi'-r.tisro. ■s.m.s E.-.sterr 
57:r-t--.l:5ro.. or Bralim.-. Vidyx Tie "West -ot being vre- 
p-ired to jccect it, her ttr;t issigttec '^-rrk w.-.s t: defend 
the real phenomen-t of the " oirole " from thit r-re-udioed 
."ind miiitjnt eneniv of syirituil behef — -n.tteriiliitio, 
5o:o.;st;o. rnvstoj.- soienoe, witti its vrtJ.ne5 .ind -ejiders. 
The one neoess-tr;.- th:n; ;":r the .-.;e -^as to check ma- 

the religions yearning. Therefore, the battle b ring joined, 
she took her stand beside the An:er::an Sriritnalists, and 
for tlte moment made common oanse with them. Yes. 
Tosterity -o/,'.' do her -nstice. 

I vvish I could recall to memory the nrst phenomenon 
done bv her oonfessedlv as by an exerotse of her own 
■will power, bnt I cannot. It mnst have been jnst .tfter 
she began wrttin; Jsis l'n-::r:!sJ and rossibly it wis the 
followin; After leaving i6 Place and nt.ihing a 
visit to friends in the cotiatry. she occntried rooms for a 
time in anrther hcase in; Plaoe. a fe~ dorrs fr:m 
the Lotos Club and on the same side of the street. It 
was there that, later, the inf:rmal gathering of friends 
was held at v.-hieh I pr:7:sed the formation of what 
afterwards became tne The-: sop ntcai ?:;;rty, Amrng 

Corbonaro. I was sitting a.:re with her in her drawing- 
room wnen he maCe tis nrst visit. Tney ta_£ec o; 

1 6 Old Diary Leaves 

one of the greatest of the Adepts. She started as if she 
had received an electric shock ; looked him straight in 
the eyes, and said (in Italian) " What is it ? I am ready." 
He passed it off carelessly, but thenceforward the talk 
was all about Magic, Magicians, and Adepts. Signor B. 
went and opened one of the French windows, made some 
beckoning passes towards the outer air, and presently a 
pure white butterfly came into the room and went flying 
about near the ceiling. H. P. B. laughed in a cheerful 
way and said : " That is pretty, but I can also do it ! " 
She, too, opened the window, made similar beckoning 
passes, and presently a second white butterfly came flut- 
tering in. It mounted to the ceiling, chased the other 
around the room, played with it now and then, with it 
flew to a corner, and, presto ! both disappeared at once 
while we were looking at them. " What does that mean ? " 
I asked. " Only this, that Signor B. can make an ele- 
mental turn itself into a butterfly, and so can I." The 
insects were not real but illusionary ones. 

I recall other instances of her control of elementals or, 
as Hindus would term it, Yakshini Vidya. An early one 
is the following : On a cold winter's night, when several 
inches of snow lay upon the ground, she and I were work- 
ing upon her book until a late hour at her rooms in 
Thirty-fourth Street. I had eaten some saltish food for 
dinner, and at about i a.m., feeling very thirsty, said to 
her : " Would it not be nice to have some hothouse 
grapes?" "So it would," she replied, "let us have 
some." " But the shops have been closed for hours, and 

First Meeting of the Founders 17 

we can buy none," I said. " Xo matter, we shall have 
them, all the same," was her reply. " But how ? " "I 
will show you. if you will just turn down that gas-light 
on the table in front of us." I turned the cock unin- 
tcntion.illy so far around as to extinguish the light. 
" Vou need not have done tli.ii. ' she said. " I only 
wanted you to ni.ike the liglit dim. However, light it 
.ig.iin quickly." A box of matches l.iy just at hand, and 
in a moment I had relit the lamp. " Sec ! " she ex- 
claimed, pointing to a hanging book-shelf on the wall 
before us. To my amazement there hung from the knobs 
at the two ends of one of the shelves two l.irge bunches 
of ripe black Hamburgh grapes, which we proceeded to 
eat. To my question as to the agency employed, she said 
it was done by certain elementals under her control, and 
twice Liter on, when we were living in the so-called " La- 
masery," slie repeated the phenomenon of bringing fruits 
for our refreshment while .u work on /sis. 

Little by little, H. P. B. let me know of the exist- 
ence of Eastern adepts and their powers, and gave me 
by a multitude of phenomena the proofs of her own 
control over the occult forces of nature. At first, as I 
have remarked, she ascribed them to " John King," and 
it was through his alleged friendliness I first came 
into personal correspondence with the Masters. Many 
of their letters I have preserved, with my own endorse- 
ment of the dates of their reception. For ye.irs, and 
until shortly before I left New York for India, I was 
connected in pupilage with the African section of the 

1 8 Old Diary Leaves 

Occult Brotherhood ; but, later, when a certain wonder- 
ful psycho-physiological change happened to H. P. B. 
that I am not at liberty to speak about, and that nobody 
has up to the present suspected, although enjoying her 
intimacy and full confidence, as they fancy, I was trans- 
ferred to the Indian section and a different group of 
Masters. For, it may be stated, there is and ever was 
but one altruistic alliance, or fraternity, of these Elder 
Brothers of humanity, the world over ; but it is divided 
into sections according to the needs of the human race 
in its successive stages of evolution. In one age the 
focal centre of this world-helping force will be in one 
place, in another elsewhere. Unseen, unsuspected as 
the vivifying spiritual currents of the Akash, yet as indis- 
pensable for the spiritual welfare of mankind, their com- 
bined divine energy is maintained from age to age and 
forever refreshes the pilgrim of Earth, who struggles on 
towards the Divine Reality. The sceptic denies the ex- 
istence of these adepts because he has not seen or talked 
with them, nor read in history of their visible intermed- 
dling in national events. But their being has been 
known to thousands of self-illuminate mystics and phi- 
lanthropists in succeeding generations, whose purified 
souls have lifted them up out of the muck of physical 
into the brightness of spiritual consciousness ; and at 
many epochs they have come into personal relations with 
the persons who are devoting or inclined to devote them- 
selves to altruistic labour for bringing about the brother- 
hood of mankind. Some of this class, very humble 

First Meeting of the Founders 19 

and apparently very unworthy — like us leaders of the 
Theosophical Society movement — have been blessed 
with their sympathy and partaken of their instruction. 
Some, like Damodar and H. P. B., have first seen them 
in visions while young ; some have encountered them 
under strange guises in most unlikely places ; I was in- 
troduced to them by H. P. B. through the agency that 
my previous experiences would make most comprehen- 
sible, a pretended medium-overshadowing " spirit." 
John King brought four of the Masters to my attention, 
of whom one was a Copt, one a representative of the 
Neo Platonist Alexandrian school, one — a very high one, 
a Master of the Masters, so to say — a Venetian, and one 
an English philosopher, gone from men's sight, yet not 
dead. The first of these became my first Guru, and a 
stern disciplinarian he was, indeed, a man of splendid 
masculinity of character. 

In time I came to know from themselves that H. P. 
B. was a faithful servant of theirs, though her peculiar 
temperament and idiosyncracies made her too antipa- 
thetic to some of them to permit of their working with 
her. This will not seem strange if one remembers that 
each individual man, whether adept or laic, has evolved 
along a particular ray of the Logos, and is in spiritual 
sympathy with his associate souls of that ray, and may 
be in antagonism, on this physical plane, with entities of 
another ray when clothed in flesh. This is probably the 
ultima ratio of what is called magnetic, auric, or psychical 
sympathy and antipathy. Whatever the reason may be 

20 Old Diary Leaves 

some of the Masters could not and did not work with 
H. P. B. Several did, among them some whose names 
have never as yet been given out, but whom I had much 
intercourse with in those early years of the Theosophical 
Society movement. 

Among other things about herself H. P. B. told me, 
when I had got along far enough to know of the Broth- 
erhood and her relation with it, that she had come to 
Paris the previous year (1873) intending to settle down 
for some time under the protection of a relative of hers, 
residing in the Rue de I'Universitd, but one day re- 
ceived from the " Brothers " a peremptory order to go 
to New York to await further orders. 

The next day she had sailed with little more than 
money enough to pay her passage. She wrote to her 
father for funds to be sent her in care of the Russian 
Consul in New York, but this could not arrive for some 
time, and as the Consul refused her a loan, she had to 
set to work to earn her daily bread. She told me she 
had taken lodgings in one of the poorest quarters in 
New York — Madison Street — and supported herself by 
making cravats or artificial flowers — I forget which now 
— for a kind-hearted Hebrew shop-keeper. She always 
spoke to me with gratitude about this little man. As 
yet she had received no intimation as to the future, it 
was a sealed book. But the following year, in October, 
1874, she was ordered to go to Chittenden and find the 
man who, as it turned out, was to be her future colleague 
in a great work — myself. 

First Meeting of the Founders 21 

Her intimate friends will recollect her telling this 
story about her sudden departure under orders from 
Paris to New York. Mr. Sinnett mentions it in his In- 
cidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky (page 175), and 
it has been elsewhere published. But these acquaint- 
ances had it from her later on, and her enemies may say 
it was an afterthought of hers, a falsehood concocted 
to fit in with a little farce she subsequently invented. 
Accident, however, — if it be an accident — has just now, 
while I am writing these pages, brought me a valuable 
bit of corroborative proof. We have had staying at 
Adyar an American lady, Miss Anna Ballard, a veteran 
journalist, a life member of the New York Press Club, 
who, in the course of professional duty, met H. P. B. in 
the first week after her arrival at New York. In the 
course of conversation, amid a variety of less important 
facts. Miss Ballard casually mentioned to me two, that I 
at once begged her to put in writing, viz. : that H. P. B., 
whom she found living in a squalid lodging-house, said 
that she had suddenly and unexpectedly left Paris at 
one day's notice, and, secondly, that she had visited 
Tibet. Here is Miss Ballard's own version of the 
.affair : 

■'Adyar, 17th January, 1892. 

" Dear Col. Olcott : — My acquaintanceship with 
Mme. Blavatsky dates even further back than you sup- 
pose. I met her in July, 1873, at New York, not more 
than a week after she landed. I was then a reporter on 
the staff of the JVew York Sun, and had been detailed to 

2 2 Old Diary Leaves 

write an article upon a Russian subject. In the course 
of my search after facts the arrival of this Russian lady 
was reported to me by a friend, and I called upon her ; 
thus beginning an acquaintance that lasted several years. 
At our first interview she told me she had had no idea 
of leaving Paris for America until the very evening be- 
fore she sailed, but why she came or who hurried her off 
she did not say. I remember perfectly well her saying 
with an air of exultation, ' I have been in Tibet.' Why 
she should think that a great matter, more remarkable 
than any other of the travels in Egypt, India, and other 
countries she told me about, I could not make out, but 
she said it with special emphasis and animation. I now 
know, of course, what it means. Anna Ballard." 

Unless prepared to concede to H. P. B. the power of 
foreseeing that I should be getting this written statement 
from Miss Ballard in India, nineteen years later, the fair- 
minded reader will admit that the statements she made 
to her first friend in New York, in 1873, strongly cor- 
roborate the assertions she has ever since made to a 
large number of people about the two most important 
incidents in the history of her connection with the The- 
osophical movement, (a) her preparation in Tibet, and 
(d) her journey to America in search of the person whose 
Karma linked him to her as the co-agent to set this 
social wave in motion. 

She made an abortive attempt to found a sort of Spirit- 
ual Society at Cairo, in 1871 [jnWe Peebles' Around the 

First Meeting of the Founders 23 

World, p. 215, and Sinnett's Incidents in the Life of 
Mme. Blavatsky, p. 158], upon a basis of phenomena. 
Not having the right persons to organise and direct it, it 
was a lamentable fiasco and brought upon her much ridi- 
cule. Yet the magical phenomena she wrought with the 
help of the self-same Copt and another adept whom I 
subsequently came into relations with, were most start- 
ling.* It was apparently a reckless waste of psychic 

* See an article in Frank Leslie's Popular Magazine lax February 
l8g2, illustrated by mendacious engravings, yet containing a few facts 
along with much falsehood. The author, Dr. A. L. Rawson, men- 
tions the Cairo failure of the " attempt to form a society for occult 
research," and says that " Paulos Metamon, a celebrated Coptic 
magician, who had several very curious books full of astrological 
formulas, magical incantations and horoscopes which he delighted in 
showing his visitors, after a proper introduction " advised delay. Dr. 
Rawson says that she (H. P. B.) had told the Countess Kazinoff "that 
she had solved at least one of the mysteries of Egypt, and proved it 
by letting a live serpent loose from a bag she had concealed in the 
folds of her dress." From an eye-witness I had it that while H.P.B. 
was in Cairo the most extraordinary phenomena would occur in any 
room she might be sitting in ; for example, the table lamp would quit 
its place on one table and pass through the air to another, just as if 
carried in some one's hand; this same mysterious Copt would suddenly 
vanish from the sofa where he was sitting, and many such marvels. 
Miracles no longer, since we have had the scientists prove to us the 
possibility of inhibition of the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and 
smell by mere hypnotic suggestion. Undoubtedly this inhibition was 
provoked in the company present, who were made to see the Copt 
vanish, and the lamp moving through space, but not the person whose 
hand was carrying it. It was what H. P. B. called a " psychological 
trick," yet all the same a fact and one of moment to science. Scien- 
tists attest the fact of inhibition yet confess ignorance as to its 
rationale. "How" — say Drs. Binet and Fer^, in their celebrated 
work Ze Magnetisme Animal—" has the experimentalist produced this 
curious phenomenon ? We know nothing about it. We only grasp 

24 Old Diary Leaves 

energy, and indicated anything but either personal infal- 
libility or divine guidance. I could never understand it. 
And as regards the Theosophical Society every circum- 
stance tends to show that it has been a gradual evolution, 
controlled by circumstances and the resultant of op- 
posite forces, now running into smooth, now into rough 
grooves, and prosperous or checked proportionately with 
the wisdom or unwisdom of its management. The gen- 
eral direction has always been kept, its guiding motive 
ever identical, but its programme has been variously 
modified, enlarged, and improved as our knowledge in- 
creased and experience from time to time suggested. All 
things show me that the movement as such was planned 
out beforehand by the watching Sages, but all details 
were left for us to conquer as best we might. If we had 
failed, others would have had the chance that fell to our 
Karma, as I fell heir to the wasted chances of her Cairo 
group of 187 1. Speaking of growth of knowledge, I can 
look back and trace a constant enlargement of my own 

the external fact, to know that when one affirms to a sensitive subject 
that an object present does not exist, this suggestion has the effect, 
direct or indirect, to dig in the brain of the hypnotic an anesthesia 
corresponding to the designated object. But what happens between 
the verbal affirmation, which is the means, and the systematised anes- 
thesia, which is the end? . . . Here the laws of association, which 
are so great a help in solving psychological problems, abandon us 
completely." Poor beginners ! They do not see that the inhibition 
is upon the astral man, and Eastern magicians excel them in "psy- 
chological tricks " simply because they know more about psychology, 
and can reach the Watcher who peers out upon the foolish world of 
illusion through the windows of the body; the telephonic nerves being 
inhibited, the telegraphic wires are cut, and no message passes in. 

First Meeting of the Founders 25 

ideas, deeper perception of truth, and capacity to assimi- 
late and impart ideas. My published articles and 
letters between 1875 and 1878 prove this distinctly. 
When I was a child (in Occultism) I spoke as a child ; 
often dogmatically, after the fashion of comparative 

I never heard anything from H. P. B. in the early days 
to make me think that she had the least intimation, until 
sent to Chittenden to me, about any future relationship 
between us in work, nor even then that the Theosophical 
Society was to be. We have it on her own authority, as 
quoted above, that she was sent from Paris to New York 
in the interest of Spiritualism, in the best sense of that 
word, and before we met she had attended seances and 
consorted with mediums, but never came under public 
notice. In May, 1875, I was engaged in trying to organ- 
ise at New York with her concurrence a private investi- 
gating committee under the title of the " Miracle Club." 
In the Scrap-book (Vol. I.) she writes about it : 

"An attempt in consequence of orders received from 
T* B* (a Master) through P. (an Elemental) personating 
John King. Ordered to begin telling the public the 
truth about the phenomena and their mediums. And 
now my martyrdom will begin ! I shall have all the 
Spiritualists against me, in addition to the Christians and 
the Sceptics. Thy will, oh M., be done. H. P. B." 

The plan was to keep closed doors to all save the 
members of the Club, who were forbidden to divulge 
even the place of meeting. "All the manifestations, in- 

26 Old Diary Leaves 

eluding materialisations, to occur in the light, and without 
a cabinet." \^Spi7-itual Scientist, 'i^ls.y \<), \?<']6.'\ Taking 
H. P. B.'s remark above, as written, it looks as though 
there would have been no Theosophical Society — it 
looks so, I say — if her intended medium for the Miracle 
Club had not utterly failed us and so precluded my 
completing the organisation. 

I notice in Mr. Sinnett's book the coincidence that 
she arrived at New York on the 7th of July, 1873-that is 
to say on the seventh day of the seventh month of her 
forty-second year (6x7), and that our meeting was post- 
poned until I should have attained my forty-second year. 
And, to anticipate, it must also be remarked that she 
died in the seventh month of the seventeenth year of our 
Theosophical relationship. Add to this the further fact, 
recently published by me in the Theosophist, that Mrs. 
Annie Besant came to H. P. B. as an applicant for mem- 
bership in the seventh month of the seventeenth year 
after her final withdrawal from the Christian com- 
munion, and we have here a pretty set of coincidences 
to bear in mind. 



I HAVE found a letter to myself from an older ac- 
quaintance of Madame Blavatsky's than even Miss 
Ballard, the existence of which I had forgotten. The 
last-named lady met her at New York within the first 
week after her arrival from France, but Dr. Marquette 
knew her in Paris, before she started on that long and 
brilliant career which led, /cr aspei-a ad astra, to end at 
the Woking crematory for the moment, in 1891, and then 
keep on and ever onward. The innuendoes about her 
having led a wild life at the French capital in 1873, are 
answered by this frank statement of an educated lady 
physician, whom I personally knew at New York, but 
who, I understand, is now deceased. She says : 

" New York, December 26, 1875. 
" Dear Sir : 

" In reply to your inquiries, I have to say that I made 
Madame Blavatsky's acquaintance in Paris in the year 
1873. She was living in the Rue du Palais, in an apart- 


28 Old Diary Leaves 

ment* with her brother, M. Hahn, and his intimate friend 
M. Lequeux. I was with her almost daily, and, in fact, 
spent a good part of my time with her when I was not in 
the hospitals or attending the lectures. I am, therefore, 
able to state from positive knowledge, what her beha- 
viour was. It gives me great pleasure to say that that 
behaviour was unexceptionable, and such as to entitle her 
to every respect. She passed her time in painting and 
writing, seldom going out of her room. She had few 
acquaintances, but among the number were M. and 
Mme. Leymarie. Mme. Blavatsky I esteem as one of 
the most estimable and interesting ladies I ever met, and 
since my return from France, our acquaintance and 
friendship have been renewed. 

" Yours respectfully, 
(Sd.) " L. M. Marquette, M.D." 

In the preceding chapter it was mentioned that she 
had left Paris for New York, by order of the Masters, 
on a day's notice, and with barely enough money to 
pay her way out. I recall a circumstance of the jour- 
ney which, as she told it, brings into high relief one trait 
of her many-angled character — her impulsive generosity. 
She had bought a first-class ticket from Havre to New 
York, and had gone to the quay to either see or embark 
on the steamer, when her attention was attracted by 
a peasant woman, sitting on the ground with a child or 

* An " appariement" does not mean, as with us, a single chamber, 
but a suite of rooms, comprising reception, dining and bed-rooms, 
with a kitchen and servants' quarters. — O. 

Madame Blavatsky in America 29 

two beside her, and weeping bitterly. Drawing near, 
H. P. B. found she was from Germany on her way to 
America to rejoin her husband, but a swindling emigrant 
runner at Hamburgh had sold her bogus steamer tickets, 
and there she was, penniless and helpless : the steamship 
company could do nothing, of course, and she had 
neither relative nor acquaintance in Havre. The heart 
of our kind H. P. B. was so touched that she said : " No 
matter, good woman, I will see if something cannot be 
done." She first vainly tried her powers of persuasion 
(and objurgation) upon the blameless agent of the com- 
pany, and then, as a last expedient — her own funds being 
insufficient for the purpose — had her saloon ticket 
changed for a steerage berth for herself, and for the 
difference got steerage tickets for the poor woman and 
her children ! Many " proper " and " respectable " people 
have often expressed horror at H. P. B.'s coarse eccen- 
tricities, including profanity, yet I think that a generous 
deed like this would cause whole pages of recorded sole- 
cisms in society manners to be washed away from the 
Book of Human Accounts ! If any doubt it, let them 
try the steerage of an emigrant ship. 

We have seen how Miss Ballard found H. P. B. living 
in a wretched tenement-house in an East-end New York 
street, pending the arrival of money from home, and 
honestly supporting herself by sewing cravats. This was 
in July, 1873. In the following October her ever-indul- 
gent, forbearing, and beloved father, died, and, on the 
29th of the month, she received a cable dispatch from 

JO Old Diary Leaves 

Stavropol, from her sister " Elise," conveying the news 
and informing her as to the amount of her heritage : 
adding that a draft for looo roubles had been sent her. 
[I have the original dispatch before me as I write.] In 
due course of post she received all the money, and then 
shifted her quarters to better neighbourhoods in New 
York city — Union Square, East Sixteenth St., Irving 
Place, etc., and it was in the last-named I found her 
domiciled upon returning from the Eddy Homestead. 
Her money did not stay with her long, however, for, as 
it is recorded in Mr. Sinnett's book, while she could en- 
dure with perfect patience the miseries of poverty if 
compelled, no sooner did money fall into her lap than 
she seemed to be unhappy unless she was throwing it 
away with both hands in the most imprudent fashion. A 
document in my possession illustrates this so well that I 
must quote from it. It is an agreement entitled " Articles 
of co-partnership entered into this twenty-second day of 
June, in the year One thousand eight hundred and 

seventy-four, by and between C G party 

of the first part and Helen Blavatsky, party of the second 
part, to wit : " Clause i recites that the co-partnership is 

" for the purpose of working the land and farm at N , 

in the County of , Long Island," the property of 

C. G. ; Clause 2 says, " the said co-partnership shall com- 
mence on the first day of July, 1874, and shall continue 
for the period of three years." Clause 3 states that C. G. 
puts the use of the farm into the co-partnership as an 
off-set against the sum of one thousand dollars paid in 

Madame Blavatsky in America 31 

by H. P. B. By Clause 4 " all proceeds for crops, 
poultry, produce, and other products raised on the said 
farm shall be divided equally, and all expenses " equally 
shared. Clause 5, and last, reserves the title of the land 
to C. G. The document is duly signed and sealed by 
the parties, witnessed and recorded. 

What anybody might have expected happened : H. P. 
B. went to live on the farm ; got no profits, had a row, 
acquired debts and a neat little lawsuit which friends 
helped her to settle long afterward. That was the last 
of her bucolic dream of profits from sales of garden- 
truck, poultry, eggs, etc. : three months later she met me 
in the Vermont ghostland, and the wheels of our war 
chariot began rumbling prophetically through the lowest 
levels of the Akash ! 

In November, 1874, signing her letter "Jack the 
Pappoose," she wrote to ask me to get her an engagement 
to write weird stories for a certain journal, as she would 
soon be " hard up," and gave me a rollicking account of 
her family pedigree and connexions on both sides ; talk- 
ing like a democrat, yet showing but too plainly that she 
felt that she, if any one, had reason to be proud of her 
lineage. She writes me how the Daily Graphic people 
had interviewed her about her travels and asked for her 
portrait. Considering how many thousand copies of her 
likeness have since been circulated, the world over, it 
will amuse if I quote a sentence or two about this first 
experience of the sort : 

" Don't you know, the fellows of the Graphic bored 

32 Old Diary Leaves 

my life out of me to give them my portrait ? Mr. F. 
was sent to get me into conversation after I came out 
[for the Eddys, she means], and wanted them to insert 
my article against . . . Beard. I suppose they wanted to 
create a sensation and so got hold of my beautiful 
nostrils and splendid mouth ... I told them that nature 
has endowed and gifted me with a potato nose, but I did 
not mean to allow them to make fun of it, vegetable 
though it is. They very seriously denied the fact, and 
so made me laugh, and you know ' celui qui rit est 
desarmd' " 

A well-known physician of New York, a Dr. Beard, 
attracted to Chittenden by my Graphic letters, had come 
out with a bombastic and foolish explanation of the 
Eddy ghosts as mere trickery, and she had flayed him 
alive in a reply, dated October 27th and published in the 
Graphic of October 30th. Her letter was so brave and 
sparkling a defence of the Eddy mediums, and her testi- 
mony as to the seven " spirit-forms " she herself had 
recognised so convincing, that she at once came into the 
blaze of a publicity which never afterwards left her. 
This was the first time her name had been heard of in 
America in connection with psychological mysteries, 
my own mention in the G7-aphic, of her arrival at Chit- 
tenden appearing, if I am not mistaken, a little later. 
However, be that as it may, her tilt with Dr. Beard was 
the primary cause of her notoriety. 

She carried a tone of breeziness, defiant brusqueness, 
and camaraderie throughout all her talk and writing in 

Madame Blavatsky in America 33 

those days, fascinating everybody by her bright wit, her 
contempt for social hypocrisies, and all " caddishness," 
and astounding them with her psychical powers. The 
erudition of Isis Unveiled had not yet overshadowed her, 
but she constantly drew upon a memory stored with a 
wealth of recollections of personal perils and adventures, 
and of knowledge of occult science, not merely unparal- 
leled but not even approached by any other person who 
had ever appeared in America, so far as I have heard. 
She was a totally different personage then from what she 
was later on, when people saw her settled down to the 
serious life-work for which her whole past had been a 
preparatory school. Yes, the H. P. B. I am now writing 
about, in whose intimate comradeship I lived, with whom 
I was on terms of perfect personal equality, who over- 
flowed with exuberant spirits and enjoyed nothing more 
than a comic song or story, was not the H. P. B. of India 
or London, nor recognisable in the mental colossus of 
the latter days. She changed in many things, yet in one 
thing she never improved, viz., the choice of friends and 
confidants. It almost seems as though she were always 
dealing with inner selves of men and women, and had 
been blind to the weakness or corruption of their visible, 
bodily shells. Just as she flung her money to every 
specious wretch who came and lied to her, so she made 
close friends of the passing hour with people the most 
unworthy. She trusted one after another, and, for the 
time being, there seemed nobody like them in her eyes ; 
but usually the morrow brought disillusion and disgust, 

34 Old Diary Leaves 

without the prudence to avoid doing it all over again. 
I mentioned above the attempt to form a Miracle Club, 
for the study of practical psychology. The intended 
medium belonged to a most respectable family, and 
talked so honestly that we thought we had secured a 
prize. He proved to be penniless, and as H. P. B. in his 
hour of greatest need had no money to spare, she 
pawned her long gold chain and gave him the proceeds. 
That wretch not only failed utterly as a medium, but was 
also reported to us as having spread calumnies against 
the one who had done him kindness. And such was 
her experience to the end of her life ; the ingratitude and 
cruel malice of the Coulombs being but one of a long 
series of sorrows. 

The subsequent history of that gold chain is interest- 
ing. It was, of course, redeemed from pawn, and, later, 
she wore it in Bombay and Madras. When, in the 
Ninth Annual Convention of the Society, held at Adyar, 
a subscription was started to create the Permanent 
Fund, H. P. B. put her chain up at private auction, and 
it was bought by Mr. E. D. Ezekiel, and the money 
handed over to the Treasurer of the T. S. for the Fund 
in question. 

Before my series of Chittenden letters to the Daily 
Graphic was finished, I had arranged for their publi- 
cation in book form at Hartford, Conn., and about the 
same time H. P. B. removed to Philadelphia. A blight 
fell upon Spiritualism in those days, in consequence of 
Mr. Dale Owen's public denunciation of the Holmes 

Madame Blavatsky in America 35 

mediums as cheats. The journals of that movement 
lost heavily in subscribers, the most popular books lay 
unsold on the publishers' shelves. My own publishers 
were so alarmed that I arranged, through Mr. Owen, 
with Mrs. Holmes for a course of test-seances under my 
own conditions, and went there and carried out my 
plan, with the colleagues before mentioned. Thence I 
proceeded to Havana, N. Y., and saw the truly marvel- 
lous mediumistic phenomena of Mrs. Compton. Both 
sets of experiences were embodied in my book, and it 
was published. 

H. P. B. was still at Philadelphia, so I accepted her 
urgent invitation to come and take a few days' holiday 
after my long term of work. Expecting to be absent 
from New York only two or three days, I left no instruc- 
tions at my office or club about forwarding my letters, 
but, finding upon arrival that she was not likely to let 
me go so soon, I went on the second day to the General 
Post-Office, gave the address of my lodgings, and asked 
that any letters coming for me might be delivered there 
by carrier. I expected none, but fancied that the peo- 
ple in my office, not hearing from me, might address me 
at the Philadelphia Post-Office on the chance of my 
getting their letter. Then happened something that 
astonished me — knowing so little as I did of the 
psychical resources of H. P. B. and her Masters — and 
which even now, despite so long an experience of phe- 
nonena, remains a world-wonder. To understand what 
follows, let the reader examine any letter he has re- 

36 Old Diary Leaves 

ceived by post, and he will find two office stamps upon 
it ; the one on the face, that of the office at which it was 
posted, the one on the back, that of the office to which 
it was addressed ; if it has been sent on after him from 
the latter office, it will at least bear those two stamps, 
and, in addition, those of any series of post-offices to 
which it was re-addressed until it finally reached his 
hand. Now, on the evening of the very day on which I 
had left my address at the Philadelphia General Post- 
Office, the local postman brought me letters coming from 
widely distant places — one, I think, from South America, 
or at any rate, some foreign country — addressed to me 
at New York, bearing the stamps of the respective offices 
of posting, but not that of the New York Post-Office. 
Despite all post-office rules and customs, they had come 
straight to me to Philadelphia without passing through 
the New-York Post Office at all. And nobody in New 
York knew my Philadelphia address, for I did not myself 
know what it would be when I left home. I took these 
letters myself from the postman's hand, being just on 
the point of going out for a walk when he arrived. So 
the letters were not tampered with by H. P. B. Upon 
opening them, I found ituide each, something written in 
the same handivriting as that in letters I had received in 
New York from the Masters, the writing having been made 
either in the margins or any other blank space left by the 
writers. The things written were, either some comments 
upon the character or motives of the writers, or matter 
of general purport as regards my occult studies. These 




Mad.ime Blavatskv in America 

were the precur<i.^rs of .'s whole series of those ohe- 
r-onier.-v! suronses d.:r-.:-.c the fonn^ghi or so th^t I srer.; 
in Fh:hvdeoohi.:. I had m.sny, .^r.d no letter of the lot 
lore the Xew York st.^mp. ilrhough ii! were .-.digressed 
;o me .~: my omce in tli.j! ciiv. 

The .locomp.myinc f."..--s;nrhe of one of the covers — 
.. ;e:;er froro. Prof. J. R. Buch.'.n.ii— will show that i] 
si'.J-iirb. -idd.ressed :o -.r-e ai Xew York., itw.-.s deho ered bv 
:he FhihiJe'.yhi.-. cj-rier without h.-.v:- cheer, re-.zddressed 
to "r.ri: cjty. The house nuro.her — H. P. B.s residence — wT:::en in hoe C;:y Pe.ivery Deo.iTtnier.: of the Phila- 
delohi.j Pvs:-Ohi^-e, The New York st.irov' is net on h;ie 

When we coin e lo ir^.^lyse the ysvchioal : i.rr.v. ir.eriu 
of or conne^'ted v,;:h Mrne. B!.-o .::skv. we hnd thev 
■.o.u\ hr , ..".ssihed .IS follows : 

1. Those whose prod .:.■".! on requires u know. edge o: 
hne uV.irn.-.te of n:;u:'.er. of li^.e oohesiNe force 
which .icrfunreru'.es hne utonis ; esyeci.ii'.x a k: ow.edge 
of Ak.ishi, ;;s composition, contents, .ind poienti.Jilies. 

2. Th.-fr which re..ite to the t'owens of the eietnento-is 
when mude suhservient to ham.-.n wiih 

_;. These where hvpnotic suggestion through the 

tit ns of s'.-'.t. sound, .tnd to-uch. 

.:_ Those wliici involve the an of uuuking objecttve 
i.uuies. pici.'ri.t. cr scriotor\- — which .■iTe hrst purpcsei. 
creited it:i the sdet t-ouer.-.tor's tn.ud ; for utst-ince, t.Te 
-. recit ttuiion ol a picture or v.r'itiug upon juyer or other 

38 Old Diary Leaves 

material surface, or of a letter, image, or other mark 
upon the human skin. 

5. Those pertaining to thought-reading and retro- 
spective and prospective clairvoyance. 

6. Those of the intercourse at will between her mind 
and the minds of other living persons equally or more 
perfectly gifted, psychically, than herself. Or, some- 
times, the subordination of her will and whole personality 
to the will of another entity. 

7. Those, of the highest class, where by spiritual in- 
sight, or intuition, or inspiration — as indifferently called; 
there being no real difference in the condition, but only 
in names — she reached the amassed stores of human 
knowledge laid up in the registry of the Astral Light. 

Recalling my observations for the past twenty years as 
well as I can, I think that all the tales I have ever told 
or shall henceforth tell, will drop into one or other of 
these classes. 

The sceptic will certainly say that my groups are arbi- 
trary and my hypotheses fanciful. He will ask me to 
prove that there are elemental spirits ; that there is such 
a thing as clairvoyance ; that material objects called for 
can be brought from a distance ; that anybody really 
knows the nature of the attraction of cohesion, etc. I 
shall, for my sole answer, tell what I and others have 
seen, and then challenge the doubter to find in nature any 
thinkable laws, outside those above enumerated, which ex- 
plain the facts — the hard undeniable facts. If the theory 
of miracle, or diabolism, be propounded, then I shall be 

Madame Blavatsky in America 39 

dumb, for that cuts off argument. I do not pretend to 
be able to explain the rationale of all of H. P. B.'s phe- 
nomena, for to do that one would need to be as well 
informed as herself ; which I never pretended to be. 



AN experiment, made by H. P. B., with myself as 
a passive agent, shortly after my coming to her 
house in Philadelphia, narrows the phenomena of let- 
ter-transport, with precipitation of writing inside sealed 
covers, to very close limits. The facts were these : she 
was tipping tables for me, with and without the contact 
between her hands and the table ; making loud and 
tiny raps — sometimes while holding her hand six inches 
above the wood, and sometimes while resting her hand 
upon mine as it lay flat upon the table ; and spelling 
out messages to me from the pretended John King 
which, as rapped out by the alphabet, I recorded on 
scraps of paper that were subsequently torn up and 
thrown away. At last some of these messages relating 
to third parties seemed worth keeping, so one day, on 
my way home, I bought a reporter's note-book, and, on 
getting to the house, showed it to her and explained 
its intended use. She was seated at the time and I 


Philadelphia Phenomena 41 

standing. Without touching the book or making any 
mystical pass or sign, she told me to put it in my 
bosom. I did so, and after a moment's pause she bade 
me take it out and look within. This is what I 
found : inside the first cover, written and drawn on 
the white lining paper in lead pencil : — 

" John King, 
Henry be Morgan, 

his book. 
4th of the Fourth month in A.D. 1875." 

Underneath this, the drawing of a Rosicrucian 
jewel ; over the arch of the jewelled c rown, the 
word Fate ; beneath which is her name, " Helen," 
followed by what looks, after the rubbing of these 
seventeen years, like 99, something smudged out, and 
then a simple -\-. At the narrowest point, where the 
head of the compasses enters the crown, are the ini- 
tials I. S. F. ; beneath that a monogram, blending the 
capital letters A, T, D, and R, the T much larger 
than the others. At one foot of the compasses is 
my name, at the other the name of another man, a 
resident of Philadelphia ; and along the segment of 
the arch connecting the two points of the pair of 
compasses run the words "Ways of Providence." I 
have the book on my table as I write, and my de- 
scription is taken from the drawing itself. One strik- 
ing feature of this example of psycho-dynamics is the 
fact that no one but myself had touched the book 

42 Old Diary Leaves 

after it was purchased : I had had it in my pocket 
until it was shown to H. P. B., from the distance of 
two or three feet, had myself held it in my bosom, 
removed it a moment later when bidden, and the 
precipitation of the lead-pencil writing and drawing 
had been done while the book was inside my waist- 
coat. Now the writing inside the tover of my note- 
book is very peculiar ; the e's being all like the 
Greek epsilon^ and the n's something like the Greek 
pi: it is a quaint and quite individual handwriting, 
not like H. P. B.'s, but identical with that in all the 
written messages I had from first to last from " John 
King." H. P. B. having, then, the power of precipi- 
tation, must have transferred from her mind to the 
paper the images of words traced in this special style 
of script ; or, if not she, but some other expert in 
this art did it, then that other person must have done 
it in that same way — i. e., have first pictured to him- 
self mentally the images of those words and that 
drawing, and then precipitated ; that is, made them 
visible on the paper, as though written with a lead 
pencil. After seventeen years this psychograph re- 
mains legible, and some — not all — of the characters 
have the shine of plumbago : those that have not 
seem as though the lines had been sunken into the 
fabric of the paper. I have records of precipitations 
made in crayon, water colors, blue, red, and green 
pencils, ink and gold paint, as well as the formation 
of solid substances, but one scientific principle un- 

Philadelphia Phenomena 43 

derlies them all, ,-;;., the objectiv.ition of images, pre- 
viouilv •' visuaiisec. ' or formed in the mind of the 
expert, by the employment of cosmic force .ind the 
diff-ased matter of s^.^ce. The :::i.-;gir..i:-,o:-. is the 
creative hidden de'.iy ; force and marter its working; 

The days and eveninjrs of my Philadelphia visit 
were symposia of ocouit reacir-g, teackitii:. and phe- 
r.otr.ena. H. P. B.'s most pleasat-t and S)Tn- 
pathetic friends were Mr. and Mrs. Amer, and Messrs. 
M. D. Evar.s and J- Fasev. in whose presence a va- 
riety of phenomena were wroaght. I remetnher. 
among others, that or.e afternoon she caused .t pho- 
tograph oa the wall to sttddenly from its 
fratne and gi\"e place to a sketch portrait of John 
King while a person present was .actually looking at 
it. By degrees my mind was taking in the Easreni 
theories of stirit and spirits, of matter and m.aterial- 
ism. Without he-r.g asked by H. P. B. to give up 
the st?irita.alistic i~vvcthesis. I ntade to see and to 
feel that, as a trae science. Spiritualism could only he 
said to exist in the East, and i:s only proficients were 
-onvili and teachers of the schools of occult- 
ism.. With the sincerest desire to he fatr to the 
S'oiritualists. I must sav that up to the present mo- 
meitt no scientific theory of .mediumistic pher.ctnena 
that covers the ground and ts general. y accepted 
amcni: them, has been pax forw.ixd. nor have I seen 
convincin;C 'oroof that atnong Western adnerents to 

44 Old Diary Leaves 

the movement there has been discovered a system by 
which spirits may be evoked or physical phenomena 
compelled at will. Not a medium that I have ever 
met or heard of possesses a mantram or Vidya (scien- 
tific method) for those purposes, such as are common 
and have been known for ages in all Eastern coun- 
tries. See, for example, the article " An Evocation by 
Sorcery,'' in the Theosophist for May, 1892. Thus 
for instance, while I and H. P. B.'s other friends were 
made to believe the John King (almost daily) pheno- 
mena were done by a disembodied man, once the 
famed buccaneer. Sir H. Morgan, and that she was 
serving him as medium, or, at least, contented helper, 
H. P. B. did things which implied a knowledge of 
magic. Let me give a homely example while at the 
same time remarking that great scientific inductions 
have been reached by the chance observation of 
equally commonplace facts — e.g., the falling of an ap- 
ple, the jumping of the lid of a boiling kettle. One 
day, bethinking me that a sufficiency of towels was 
but too evidently lacking in her house, I bought 
some and brought them home with me in a 
parcel. We cut them apart, and she was for 
putting them into immediate use without hem- 
ming, but, as I protested against such bad house- 
keeping, she good-naturedly set to plying her needle. 
She had hardly commenced when she gave an angry kick 
beneath the work-table at which she sat, and said, " Get 
out, you fool ! " " What is the matter ? " I asked. 

Philadelphia Phenomena 45 

" Oh," she replied, " it is only a little beast of an elemen- 
tal that pulled my dress and wants something to do." 
" Capital ! " I said ; " here is just the thing ; make it 
hem these towels. Why should you bother about them, 
and you such an atrocious needlewoman as that very 
hem proves you to be ? " She laughed, and abused me 
for my uncomplimentary speech, but at first would not 
gratify the poor little bond-slave under the table that 
was ready to play the kindly leprachaun if given the 
chance. I, however, persuaded her at last : she told me 
to lock up the towels, the needles and thread, in a book- 
case with glass doors lined with thick green silk, that 
stood at the farther side of the room. I did so and 
resumed my seat near her, and we fell to talking on 
the inexhaustible and unique theme that occupied our 
thoughts — occult science, .\fter perhaps a quarter of 
an hour or twenty minutes, I heard a little squeaky 
sound, like a mouse's pipe, beneath the table, whereupon 
H. P. B. told me that " that nuisance " had finished the 
towels. So I unlocked the bookcase door, and found the 
dozen towels were actually hemmed, though after a 
clumsy fashion that would disgrace the youngest child in 
an infant-school sewing-class. Hemmed they were, be- 
yond the pos.sibility of doubt, and inside a locked book- 
case which H. P. B. never approached while the thing 
was going on. The time was about 4 p.m., and, of 
course, it was broad daylight. We were the only persons 
in the room, and no third person entered it until all was 

4-6 Old Diary Leaves 

Her house in Philadelphia was built on the usual 
local plan, with a front building and a wing at the back 
which contained the dining-room below and sitting or 
bedrooms above. H. P. B.'s bedroom was the front one 
on the first floor (the second, it is called in America) of 
the main building ; at the turn of the staircase was the 
sitting-room where the towels were hemmed, and from 
its open door one could look straight along the passage 
into H. P. B.'s room if her door also stood open. She 
had been sitting in the former apartment conversing with 
me, but left to get something from her bedroom. I saw 
her mount the few steps to her floor, enter her room and 
leave the door open. Time passed, but she did not re- 
turn. I waited and waited until, fearing she might have 
fainted, I called her name. There was no reply, so now, 
being a little anxious and knowing she could not be en- 
gaged privately, since the door had not been closed, I 
went there, called again, and looked in ; she was not 
visible, though I even opened the closet and looked 
under the bed. She had vanished, without the chance 
of having walked out in the normal way, for, save the 
door giving upon the landing, there was no other means 
of exit ; the room was a c«/ de sac. I was a cool one 
about phenomena after my long course of experiences, 
but this puzzled and worried me. I went back to the 
sitting-room, lit a pipe, and tried to puzzle out the mys- 
tery. This was in 1875, it must be remembered, many 
years before the Salp^triere school's experiments in 
hypnotism had been vulgarised, so it never occurred to 

Philadelphia Phenomena 47 

me that I was the subject of a neat experiment in mental 
suggestion, and that H. P. B. had simply inhibited my 
organs of sight from perceiving her presence, perhaps 
within two paces of me in the room. After awhile she 
calmly came out of her room into the passage and re- 
turned to the sitting-room to me. When I asked where 
she had been, she laughed and said she had had some 
occult business to attend to, and had made herself in- 
visible. But how, she would not explain. She played 
me and others the same trick at other times, before and 
after our going to India, but even the latest instance 
happened long before the easy hypnotic solution of the 
problem would have occurred to me. As explained in 
the first chapter of this series, the superior neatness of 
Oriental over Western hypnotic suggestion is that in such 
cases as this, the inhibitory effect upon the subject's per- 
ceptive organs results from mental, not spoken, command 
or suggestion. The subject is not put on his guard to 
resist the illusion, and it is done before he has the least 
suspicion that any experiment is being made at his 

Since I took no measurement at the time, I must con- 
cede that the following also may have been a case of 
suggested illusion. H. P. B. was wearing her hair at that 
time in a bushy mop, without comb or pins or twists, 
and in length it might have been about to the lobes of 
her ears. I came home to tiffin one day, and, her bed- 
room door standing open as usual, stopped for a minute's 
chat, before mounting to my own room on the floor 

48- Old Diary Leaves 

above. She was standing near one of the windows, and 
her head being in high light, I noticed particularly the 
mass of her hair and its tousled appearance. I also ob- 
served the shine of the daylight upon the glossy, pale 
grey paper with which the ceiling was covered. After a 
few words together I ran up stairs, but had not been there 
a minute before I heard her calling me to come down. I 
did so at once, saw her standing in the same place, but 
her hair was now so much longer that it almost touched 
her shoulders. She said nothing about that, but pointed 
to the ceiling over her head and said : " Here is some- 
thing that John has drawn for you." My recollection is 
now very dim as to what it was, but, as I remember it, it 
was a huge sketch of a man's head, with some writing or 
symbols near it ; all done in lead-pencil, at the spot 
where I had noticed the blank surface to be when I 
passed up stairs. I then took hold of her lengthened 
hair, and asked her, laughing, where she bought her 
pommade, as it was certainly very efficacious if it could 
cause hair to grow two inches within three minutes. She 
made some merry rejoinder, and said I should not meddle 
with things that were of no consequence ; such freaks of 
nature sometimes happened to her ; it was not to see 
that she had called me, but only to show me what John 
King had done on the ceiling. Considering the time that 
had elapsed from my leaving to my re-entering the room, 
and the fact that the ceiling was too high for her to reach, 
even by standing on a chair or table, my present inference 
is that the drawing was done in one of two ways, viz., 

Philadelphia Phenomena 49 

either by herself at her leisure, while I was out, by 
mounting upon a step-ladder, and inhibiting me from 
seeing the work until she chose ; or by the process of 
instantaneous precipitation while I was ascending and 
descending one short flight of stairs. That it was not 
visible to me when I was first in the room, I can posi- 
tively aver, and if the reader chooses to speculate as to 
the rationale of the matter, he must take my statement 
as made for what it is worth. What makes me suspect 
that the apparent lengthening of H. P. B.'s hair was 
illusory, is the fact that, try as I may, I cannot remember 
whether it continued to seem long or apparently resumed 
its previous length that day or the next. People in 
India, and others subsequently, in Europe, saw her hair 
twisted up into a knot and confined by a comb, but it 
was years after we met before she would let it grow long 
enough for that purpose ; I am not sure that it was not 
when we went to visit the Sinnetts at Simla ; so I am 
probably right in suspecting that the apparent sudden 
lengthening was a Maya done by way of a joke. But 
very, very strange things happened with her hair on 
several occasions, to be hereafter narrated. And 
strangest of all, was that which happened to my beard 
one night, as we shall see in good time. Speaking of her 
jokes, it may be said that, throughout all our years of 
intimacy, she wasted enough psychic force on useless 
phenomena to have sufficed to convince the whole Royal 
Society if it had been judiciously employed. I have 
heard her ring astral bells that were drowned in the 

50 Old Diary Leaves 

noise of conversation, make raps that nobody heard save 
myself, and do other phenomena that passed unnoticed, 
but which would have greatly strengthened her credit as 
a thaumaturgist if she had but chosen the favourable 
moment and given the right chances for observation. 
However, all that is past and gone, and my task is to 
record, as remembered, the psychical experiments which 
satisfied my critical reason as to the reality of the science 
of Eastern Magic. In doing which, shall I not be acting 
as a true friend to H. P. B., whose character has been 
vilified and whose occult powers denied because she fed 
rogues at her table and warmed traitors in her bosom? 
These days and events of which I write were in the pre- 
Coulombian era, when real adepts taught eager pupils 
and genuine phenomena happened. And they were days 
when I knew my colleague as a human being, before she 
had been half-deified by friends who had known nothing 
of her human failings, hence of her humanity. As I 
shall present her, the now fading ideal image of the 
writer of Isis and the S. D., will become clothed in 
flesh and blood ; a real (masculinised) woman ; living 
like other people when awake, but going into another 
world and dealing with nobler people, when asleep or in 
waking clairvoyance ; a personality inhabiting an en- 
feebled female body, " in which ... a vital cyclone 
is raging much of the time " — to quote the words of a 
Master. So fitful, so capricious, so unreliable, so exact- 
ing, so tempestuous as to call for heroic forbearance and 
self-control if one would live and work with her in an 

Philadelphia Phenomena 51 

unselfish spirit. These phenomena of hers that I saw, 
the manifold proofs she gave of the existence behind her 
of teachers whose feet she felt she was scarce worthy to 
dust, and the later epistasis, when the turbulent and ex- 
asperating woman became a writing and teaching sage 
and a benefactress to the soul-seeker ; — all these, and 
the books she left behind her, combine to prove her ex- 
ceptional greatness and make her eccentricities for- 
gotten, even by those to whom they caused most mental 
suffering. In showing us the Path, she laid us all under 
such a weight of obligation that it is impossible to 
harbour any feeling save gratitude for her. 


IN giving anything like a consecutive account of early 
Theosophic days — by which term I mean to include 
all days of intercourse between H. P. B. and myself, so 
far as I can recall them — I must briefly allude to the 
cases of precipitation of manuscript by her which are 
mentioned in my People from the Other World (pp. 
455-6-7 and 8). Ostensibly, as above stated, they were 
given me by John King, of Kamaloca, whilom buccaneer, 
knighted by His Britannic Majesty Charles II., but now 
apparently a mere pseudonym of H. P. B.'s elementals. 
At a stance at her hotel in Philadelphia, on the evening 
of January 6, 1875, the alleged J. K. doing phenomena, 
I said : " If you are in reality a spirit, as you pretend, 
give me some exhibition of your power. Make me, for 
example, a copy of the last note from E. W. to Mr. 
Owen that I have in the portfolio in my pocket." No 
notice was taken of the request that evening, but on the 
next but one after it, while H. P. B. was writing and I 

reading at the same table, loud raps sounded, and, upon 


Madame Blavatskv's Second Marriaore ^ ; 

r.-.y calling the F"j:'.;j>. alph.ibet. spelt out, "' -'.e 
> cic::on,vr\ under :'-.e t.ible. wUl you?" The only 
dict:or.,ir)- there, w.xs a one of H. P. B.'s. 
which w,ii h.inded (not dropped, but r,; -;.■',;", as if to a 
sor.-.etr.-.r.j: or inv.sih.e soruebody down there. thj.t could 
take the bulky volume) beneath .t< rev/uested. The r.tps 
then culled for .i muci'uue bottle, und then for u pen- 
knife. These ulsc huvin; been pussed under the tubie. 
t~-ere vr.:<\" s.'.ence, utter which rup>ped the 
word " Look '. " We took up the b. k. knife, und bottle. 
-tnd upon u tiy-Ieaf of the dictionur\- I found .1 urecipi- 
tuted copy of the note in question. The cull for the 
kn;:e wus exp?u.ued to me thus : a certuia inhnitesintal 
cu.tnttty of the •.■.■.e;.h composing che biudes wus disiu- 
tesTTured from the ntuss und used in preciuit.ttion of the 
bluck wririujT from the stute of nietullic v.tpour. The 
gun:-ur.ib:c lent some of its purticles — .liso v.-LVorised for 
the purpose — .■.< .1 cohesive o^.d in the exper u.ent. The 
portfolio contuiniuj the dt:plicuted note hud been in my 
pociet conttnuotis.v s;nce my contin;; to fm.OuO-e-oniu. 
until huif an hour pt.or to :he experiment, when I hud 
iuid it en the muntel-shelf. and hud hud it in full view- 
whenever I rutsed nty eves from my book. H. P. B. wus 
ull the time within two feet of me, ut her tuble writini, 
uu* no verson s,ti. e ourselves wus or hud been in the 
room since I htiJ .: upon the shelf. I'pwn ccmpur.Ui 
the original writing .tttd the duphcute. by suj;er_o5ition, 
it was e. -uen: thut the> were not, which mude 
it the more interestlu;. 

54 Old Diary Leaves 

The next evening, H. P. B. and I being again alone, 
the raps called for a piece of Bristol-board drawing- 
paper to be handed beneath the table. Showing me first 
that both sides were blank, my colleague passed it down 
to " John King,'' whereupon the raps bade me look at 
my watch and note how long the experiment would re- 
quire. With my watch in hand, I glanced under the 
table-cloth and satisfied myself that there was but the one 
sheet of paper there which I had handled the moment 
before. At the end of just thirty seconds the raps spelt 
out " Done." I looked at the paper and felt disap- 
pointed upon seeing that the exposed surface was as 
blank as before, but upon the under face, the one next 
the carpet, was found a second and even better copy of 
the original E. W. letter. This time the portfolio con- 
taining the letter was in the inside breast-pocket of my 
coat, where it had been continuously since the previous 

evening's experiment in precipitation. A Mr. B , who 

entered the room at this moment, assisted me in making 
a very careful scrutiny of the documents, placing one 
over the other as I had already done, and becoming, like 
myself, entirely convinced of the genuineness of the 
phenomenon. I may say, in parenthesis, that this gen- 
tleman received in his carpet-bag while travelling by 
railway train, a letter from " John King " conveying 
instructions as to something of a personal nature. He 
told me the story himself, showed me the letter, and 
stated upon honour, that it had come into his bag while in 
a train and miles distant from Philadelphia and H. P. B. 

Madame Blavatsky's Second Marriage 55 

This incident recalls similar experiences of my own while 
travelling by train, in France, with Babu Mohini M. 
Chatterji, and in Germany with Dr. Huebbe Schleiden, 
both in the year 1SS4. 

The mention of this gentleman (Mr. B.) reminds me 
of the duty I owe to the memory of H. P. B. to state her 
exact relations with him. It has been insinuated that 
they were not altogether creditable, and that there was a 
mystery concealed which would not bear probing. This 
is of a piece with the multitudinous cruel reports that 
were spread about her. She is dead and gone now from 
the world's sight and beyond the reach of the slanderer, 
but, judging from my own feelings, I am sure that all 
who love her memor)- will be glad to know the facts 
from one of the half dozen who are able to give them. 
They are these : One of my Chittenden letters in the 
Daily Graphic aroused the interest of this Mr. B. — a 
Russian subject — and led him to write me from Phila- 
delphia expressing his strong desire to meet my col- 
league and talk over Spiritualism. Xo objections being 
made by her, he came over to Xew York towards the 
end of 1S75, and they met. It turned out that he fell at 
once into a state of profound admiration, which he e.\- 
pressed verbally, and later, by letter, to her and to me. 
She persistently rebuffed him when she saw that he was 
matrimonially inclined, and grew very angry at his per- 
sistence. The only effect was to deepen his devotion, 
and he finally threatened to take his life unless she 
would accept his hand. Meanwhile, before this crisis 

56 Old Diary Leaves 

arrived, she had gone to Philadelphia, put up at the same 
hotel, and received his daily visits. He declared that 
he would ask nothing but the privilege of watching over 
her, that his feeling was one of unselfish adoration for 
her intellectual grandeur, and that he would make no 
claim to any of the privileges of wedded life. He so 
besieged her that — in what seemed to me a freak of 
madness — she finally consented to take him at his word 
and be nominally his wife ; but with the stipulation that 
she should retain her own name, and be as free and in- 
dependent of all disciplinary restraint as she then was. 
So they were lawfully married by a most respectable 
Unitarian clergyman of Philadelphia, and set up their 
lares and penates in a small house in Sansom Street, 
where they entertained me as guest on my second visit 
to that city — after my book was finished and brought 
out. The ceremony took place, in fact, while I was 
stopping in the house, although I was not present 
as a witness. But I saw them when they returned from 
the clergyman's residence after the celebration of the 

When I privately expressed to her my amazement at 
what I conceived to be her act of folly in marrying a 
man younger than herself, and inexpressibly her inferior 
in mental capacity ; one, moreover, who could never be 
even an agreeable companion to her, and with very little 
means — his mercantile business not being as yet estab- 
lished — she said it was a misfortune that she could not 
escape. Her fate and his were temporarily linked to- 

Madame Blavatsky's Second Marriage 57 

gether by an inexorable Karma, and the union was to 
her in the nature of a punishment for her awful pride 
and combativeness, which impeded her spiritual evolu- 
tion, while no lasting harm would result to the young 
man. The inevitable result was that this ill-starred 
couple dwelt together but a few months. The husband 
forgot his vows of unselfishness, and, to her ineffable 
disgust, became an importunate lover. She fell danger- 
ously ill in June from a bruise on one knee caused by a 
fall the previous winter in New York upon the stone 
flagging of a sidewalk, which ended in violent inflamma- 
tion of the periosteum and partial mortification of the 
leg ; and as soon as she got better (which she did in one 
night, by one of her quasi-miraculous cures, after an 
eminent surgeon had declared that she would die unless 
the leg was instantly amputated), she left him and would 
not go back. When, after many months of separation, 
he saw her determination unchangeable, and that his 
business, through his mismanagement, was going to the 
dogs, he engaged counsel and sued for a divorce on the 
ground of desertion. The summonses were served upon 
her in New York, Mr. Judge acted as her counsel, and 
on the 25th May, 1878, the divorce was granted. The 
original documents have ever since been in my custody. 
That is the whole story, and it will be seen that it shows 
no criminality nor illegality on her part, nor any evi- 
dence that she derived the slightest worldly advantage 
from the marriage beyond a very modest maintenance, 
without a single luxury, for a few months. 

58 Old Diary Leaves 

Before dismissing Mr. B. from the scene, I might 
mention a variant of her precipitation phenomena which 
I personally witnessed. He talked continually of a 
deceased grandmother, whom he professed to have 
loved very dearly, and begged H. P. B. to get him, if 
possible, her portrait, the family having none. Wearied 
by his importunities, she, one day when we three were 
together, took a sheet of writing-paper, went to the win- 
dow, held it against the glass with the palms of her 
two hands, and in a couple of minutes handed him the 
paper, upon which I saw the portrait, in black and white, 
of a queer little old woman, with a dark complexion, 
black hair, many wrinkles, and a large wart on her 
nose ! Mr. B. enthusiastically declared the likeness to 
be perfect. 

Her time during this period was fully engrossed with 
writing for the public press, upon Western Spiritualism 
at first, and later upon that of the East. Her " first oc- 
cult shot," as she terms it in a note to the cutting pasted 
into our scrap-book, will be found in the (Boston) 
Spiritual Scientist, vol. i., July 15, 1875, comment upon 
which will be made in the next chapter. 

The publication of my book led to important results ; 
among others, to interminable discussions in the Ameri- 
can and English organs of Spiritualism and in the secular 
press, in which both H. P. B. and I engaged, and to the 
formation of lasting friendships with several most excel- 
lent correspondents, with whom we threshed out the 
whole subject of Eastern and Western occultism. Al- 

Madame Blavatsky's Second Marriage 59 

most immediately we found ourselves addressed by en- 
quirers in both hemispheres and attacked or defended 
by opponents and sympathisers. The well-known Hon. 
Alexandre Aksakof, Russian Imperial Privy Councillor 
and a fervid Spiritualist, engaged H. P. B. to translate 
my book into Russian, offering to bring it out at his own 
expense. She complied, and shortly there appeared in 
St. Petersburgh a very kind and appreciative pamphlet 
by Professor N. A. Wagner, of the Imperial University, 
in which he (himself a scientific authority of the first 
rank) was good enough to say that in conducting my 
researches I "had complied with all the requirements of 
cautious scientific enquiry " ; a testimonial of which I 
naturally felt very proud. Mr. Crookes, F. R. S., and Mr. 
Alfred R. Wallace, F. R. S., of England, and M. Camille 
Flammarion of France, the world-famous astronomer, 
were also very kind and sympathetic in their expressions. 
Some months later, Mr. C. C. Massey, of London, came 
over to America expressly to verify, by personal obser- 
vation on the spot, the accuracy of my account of the 
Eddy phenomena. We saw much of each other, and 
were so mutually satisfied that a close, almost brotherly 
friendship sprang up between us ; one that has lasted to 
this day unbroken and unclouded even by a single mis- 
understanding. I had already been brought into the most 
sympathetic relations with the late Hon. R. D. Owen and 
Mr. Epes Sargent, of Boston. The latter gentleman and 
scholar had been the channel for my gaining both a 
precious correspondent and the dearest of friends, in the 

6o Old Diary Leaves 

late Mr. W. Stainton Moses,* M.A. (Oxon), teacher of 
Classics and English, in University College, London, 
and the most honoured and brilliant writer among British 
Spiritualists. A copy of my book was sent him and re- 
viewed in the Psychological Magazine or Human Nature 
— I forget which — and little by Httle we drifted into an 
almost weekly interchange of letters for several years. 
His first one, now before me, is dated April 27, 1875, and 
is devoted to discussion of the conditions and results of 
" circle " mediumistic phenomena. He draws my atten- 
tion to a fact, sneered at by Professor Tyndall in his 
well-known letter to the old London Dialectical Society, 
yet only too palpable to all experienced enquirers into 
this class of natural phenomena, viz., that " as a matter 
of fact certain people by their mere presence do seriously 
interfere with, and by their mere contiguity paralyse the 
phenomena : and that from no fault of their own, nor 
from any mental attitude (as want of faith, etc.), but from 
the atmosphere which surrounds them. The more sensi- 
tive the medium the more perceptible this is." Mr. 
Stainton !Moses continues : " There are many personal 
friends of mine in whose presence phenomena with me 
cease, to my great chagrin, nor have I the least power to 
alter the result.'' Alluding to the phenomenon of the 
apparent de-materialisation of the medium (^e. g., the case 
of Mrs. Compton, as described in my book), he declares 
it to be most astounding of all, and savs he cannot ac- 

* Moses is not the real name but Moseyn or Mo-:tyu, as lie ivild nie. 
The other is a corruption. 

Madame Blavatsky's Second Marriage 6i 

count for it, though he believes " it is not unknown to 
the Oriental Magicians." What I have S3id in a pre- 
viovLS chapter as regards the power of deluding the sight 
hy the now scientific process of hj'pnotic inhibition of 
the nen-es. solves this mystery and does away with a lot 
of superstitious beliefs and alleged diabolism. It was 
worth all the trouble of writing that book to have made 
two such life-long friends as Stainton Moses and Massev • 
but it did much more, it changed my life and made an 
epoch. While Mr. Massey was in America we together 
visited several mediums, and he was one of those who 
joined H. F. B. and myself in forming the Theosophical 
Society toward the close of that year (iS;;). I intro- 
duced him to H. P. B. and he frequently visited her 
rooms, became her close friend and constant correspon- 
dent until the intimac)' was broken, several years later, 
by a circumstance known as the "Kiddle incident.' 
When he returned to London I gave him an introductory 
letter to Mr. Stainton Moses, and thus began that inti- 
macv between us three which has onl}f been interrupted 
by the death of '' M. A. Oxon." 

Mention has been made of one Signor B . an 

Italian artist possessed of occult powers, who visited 
H. P. B. in New York. I witnessed, one autumn evening, 
in 1S75. just after the T. S. was formed, the extraordinax}' 
phenomenon of rain-making effected by him h}- — as he 
said — the control of spirits of the air. The moon was at 
the full and not a cloud floated in the clear blue sky. 
He called H. P. B. and myself out upon the balcony of 

62 Old Diary Leaves 

her back drawing-room, and, bidding me keep perfectly 
silent and cool, whatever might happen, he drew from 
the breast of his coat and held up towards the moon a 
pasteboard card, perhaps 6Xio inches in size, upon one 
face of which were painted in water-colors a number of 
squares, each containing a strange mathematical figure, 
but which he would not let me handle or examine. I 
stood close behind him, and could feel his body stiffen as 
though it were responding to an intense concentration 
of will. Presently he pointed at the moon and we saw 
dense black vapours, like thunder-clouds, or, I should 
rather say, like the tumbling mass of black smoke that 
streams away to leeward from the funnel of a mov- 
ing steamer, pouring out of the shining eastern rim of 
the brilliant satellite, and floating away towards the hori- 
zon. Involuntarily I uttered an exclamation, but the 
sorcerer gripped my arm with a clutch of steel and 
motioned me to be silent. More and more rapidly the 
black pall of cloud rushed out, and longer and longer it 
stretched away towards the distance, like a monstrous 
jetty plume. It spread into a fan-shape and soon other 
dark rain-clouds appeared in the sky, now here, now 
there, and formed into masses rolling, drifting, and scud- 
ding exactly like a natural water metre. Rapidly the 
heavens became overcast, the moon disappeared from 
view, and a shower of rain-drops drove us into the house. 
There was no thunder or lightning, no wind, just simply 
a smart shower, produced within the space of a quarter- 
hour by this man of mystery. When we came into the 

Madame Blavatsk\'5 Second Marriage 63 

light of the chandelier. I s.iw that his face had that look 
of iroK nnnness and that clencHng of the teeth that one 
sees on the faces of comrades in battle. And trul_v for 
good reason, for he had been battling against and 
conqi'.cnng the unseen hosts of the elements, a thing that 
brings otit even.- spark of virile icrce in man. Signor B. 
did not linger with us but hastily took his leave, and, as 
the ho-r was late, I followed his example within the next 
few minutes. The pavement was wet with rain, the air 
damp and cool. My rooms were but a few steps off, and 
I had barelv reached them and settled mvself for a smoke 
when the bell rang, and, i;pon openrag the front door. 
upon the threshold I found Signer B., pale and partly 
exhausted. He excised himself for troubling me but 
asked for a gl.iss of water. I made him enter, .ind after 
he had drunk the water and rested awhile, we went to 
conversit^g about occult subjects and kept it up for a 
lone time. I found him ready to talk about .irt. litera- 
ture or science, but e:xtreraely reticent .'.bout occult 
science and his person.U experience in psychical develop- 
ment. He explained, however, that all the races of ele- spirits are controllable by m.u: when his innate 
divine -. o;e:v-!es de^■eloped : his will then becoming 
an ■.rrestiMc force before which ,»]! inferior, that is every 
elemental force, whether organised as entities or brute, 
blind cosmic agents, .are compelled to yield. I had seen 
no black smoke actually pouring out of the moon, that 
was a simiile illusion produced by the concentration of 
his thought upon hex surface, but I had certainly seen 

64 Old Diary Leaves 

clouds form out of the moonlit sky and rain fall, and he 
commended the fact to me for reflection. But now he 
gave me a bit of advice which fairly astonished me. I 
had seen him on the best of terms with H. P. B., talking 
in the most friendly and unreserved way about Italy, 
Garibaldi, Mazzini, the Carbonari, the Eastern and West- 
ern adepts, etc., and matching phenomena, like the trick 
of the white butterflies, and I certainly had reason to be 
amazed when, putting on an air of mystery, he warned 
me to break off my intimacy with her. He said she was 
a very wicked and dangerous woman, and would bring 
some terrible calamity upon me if I allowed myself to fall 
under her malign spell. This — he said — he was ordered 
by the great Master, whose name I had heard him pro- 
nounce to H P. B., to tell me. I looked at the man to 
see if I could detect the concealed meaning of this pre- 
posterous speech, and finally said : " Well, Signer, I know 
that the Personage you mention exists ; I have every 
reason, after seeing your phenomena, to suspect that you 
have relations with him or with the Brotherhood ; 1 am 
ready, even to the sacrifice of my life, to obey his be- 
hests ; and now I demand that you give me a certain sign 
by which I shall know, positively and without room for 
the least doubt, that Madame Blavatsky is the devil you 
depict, and that the Master's will is that my acquaintance 
with her shall cease." The Italian hesitated, stammered 
out something incoherent, and turned the conversation. 
Though he could draw inky clouds out of the moon, he 
could not throw black doubt into my heart about my 

Madame Blavatsky's Second Marriage 65 

friend and guide through the mazy intricacies of occult 
science. The next time I saw H. P. B. I told her about 
B.'s warning, whereupon she smiled, said I had nicely 
passed through that little test, and wrote a note to Sig- 
ner B. to " forget the way to her door." Which he did. 



OUT of the sea of controversy into which H. P. B. 
and I were plunged by my Graphic letters and 
my book ; Mr. Owen's article on Katie King and his inter- 
leaved disclaimer, in the January (1875) Atlantic Month- 
ly ; General Lippitt's contributions to the Galaxy {Ji&- 
cember, 1874) and the Banner of Light ; the attacks upon 
and defences of the Holmes mediums ; and the univer- 
sal discussion of Spiritualism in the American and 
European press, — were churned certain precious things: 
among them, the forcing of Eastern occult ideas upon 
Western attention, and the birth of the Theosophical 

To refute the mendacious stories of Mahatma med- 
dlings and attendant phenomena, and show the natural 
stages by which the Society came into being, we must 
glance at the earlier letters written to the press by its two 

actual pioneers and parents (of which I have an incom- 


spiritualism 67 

plete set of copies). The details may be dry, but thev 

are important as historical data. 

As already explained, the self-advertising attack of the 
late Dr. George M. Beard — ai: electropathic physician 
of Xew York city — upon the Eddys, and his wild and 
false assertion that he could imitate the form-apparitions 
with '■ three dollars' worth of draper.-, I?.shed H. P. B. 
into a Berserker writinc-ra;e and made her send the 
Gr:7rAtr xr.iz ca-astic reply, covering a bet of $500 that 
he could not make good his boast, which first acquainted 
the American public with her existence and name. 
Naturally, people took sides ; the friends of Spiritualism 
and the mediums siding with H. P. B., while the oppo- 
nents, especially tlie materi.Uisticaiiy inclined scientists. 
ranged themselves in the cohon of Dr. Beard's supjKjrt- 
ers. The one who profited by the dispv-te was Beard, 
whose r.vot- — wcrthv of Pears. Beecham, or Siegel — adver- 
tised him and his electricity beyond his expectations. 
ProEting by the chance, he gave a tiiorotighly well ad- 
vertised lecture en this sabject, and another, if I remem- 
ber aricht, ut^on Mesmerism and Thought-reading, at 
the Xew York Academy of Music Tine -' 
Li_;ht, the R. P. ^■.-.irr.jj and other papers, commenting 
unon H. P. B."s anti-Besrd letter, she replied, and so, 
vers- speedily found herself with her hands full of con- 
troversy. As I said before, she took up the position of 
an out-and-out Spirlt-a.alist, who not onlv believed but kr.t~^r 
that the powers behind the m.ediums. which wrote, pro- 
duced physical phenomena, talked in air-formed voices. 

68 Old Diary Leaves 

and even showed their entire forms and disconnected 
faces, hands, feet or other members, were the earth- 
haunting spirits of the dead ; neither more nor less. In a 
previous chapter I quoted passages from her published 
letters and articles going to prove this, and in her very 
first letter to me, written from New York within a week 
after she left me at Chittenden (October, 1864) address- 
ing me as " Dear Friend " and signing herself " Jack," 
and in her second one, dated six days later and signed 
" Jack Blavatsky," she entreats me not to praise the me- 
diumistic musical performance of one Jesse Sheppard, 
whose pretence to having sung before the Czar, and 
other boasts she had discovered to be absolutely false ; 
as such a course on my part would " injure Spiritualism 
more than anything else in the world." * "I speak to 
you," she tells me, " as a true friend to yourself and (as 
a) Spiritualist anxious to save Spiritualism from a dan- 
ger." In the same letter, referring to a promise given her 
by " Mayflower " and " George Dix," two of the alleged 
spirit-controls of Horatio Eddy, that they would help her 
by influencing the judge before whom was pending her 
lawsuit to recover the money put into the Long Island 

* Led by his unlucky star, Sheppard — she writes — had brought her 
a lot of his St. Petersburgh credentials, in Russian, to translate. 
Among them she found a Police license to sing at the Salle Koch, a 
low lager-bier saloon and dance hall, resorted to by dissipated charac- 
ters of both sexes, and a music-master's bills for 32 roubles, for 
teaching him certain Russian songs — which we heard him sing at 
Eddy's, in a dark s/ance when he was ostensibly under the control of 
Grisi and Lablache I I give the facts on her authority without pre- 

Spiritualism 69 

market-garden copartnership — she says : " Mayflower 

was right, Judge came in with another decision 

in my favour." Did she believe, then, that medium- 
controlling spirits could and would influence justices ? 
If not, what does her language imply ? Either she was 
a Spiritualist, or so represented herself for the time be- 
ing, with the ulterior design of gradually shifting Spirit- 
ualists from the Western to the Eastern platform of 
belief in regard to the mediumistic phenomena. In her 
anti-Beard letter {N. Y. Daily Graphic, Nov. 13, 1874), 
she says — speaking of the incident of the bringing to her 
by the "spirits" of Horatio Eddy, of a decoration-buckle 
that had been buried with her father's body, at Stavro- 
pol — " I deem it my duty as a Spiritualist to," etc., etc. 
Later on, she told me that the outburst of mediumistic 
phenomena had been caused by the Brotherhood of 
Adepts as an evolutionary agency, and I embodied this 
idea in a phrase in my book {P.O. W., p. 454, top), sug- 
gesting the thinkable hypothesis that such might be the 
fact. But then, in that case, the spiritualistic outbreak 
could not be regarded as absolutely maleficent, as some 
Theosophical extremists have depicted it ; for it is in- 
conceivable — at least to me, who knew them — that those 
Elder Brothers of Humanity would ever employ, even 
for the good of the race, an agency in itself absolutely 
bad. The Jesuit motto. Finis coronat opus, is not written 
on the temple walls of the Fraternity. 

In the same number of the Daily Graphic to which she 
contributed her anti-Beard letter, was published her bi- 

70 Old Diary Leaves 

ography, from notes furnished by herself. She says, " In 
1858, I returned to Paris and made the acquaintance of 
Daniel Home, the Spiritualist . . . Home converted me to 
Spiritualism . . . After this I went to Russia. I converted 
my father to Spiritualism." In an article defending the 
Holmes mediums from the treacherous attack of their 
ex-partner and show-manager, Dr. Child, she speaks of 
Spiritualism as 'Wr belief " and ''''our cause "; and again, 
" the whole belief of us Spiritualists " ; still further, " if 
we Spiritualists are to be laughed at, and scoffed, and 
ridiculed, and sneered at, we ought to know at least the 
reason why." Certainly ; and some of her surviving col- 
leagues might profitably keep it in mind. In the Spirit- 
ual Scientist of March 8, 1875, she says that a certain 
thing would " go towards showing that, notwithstanding 
the divine truth of our faith (Spiritualism) and the teach- 
ings of our invisible guardians (the spirits of the circles), 
some Spiritualists have not profited by them, to learn im- 
partiality and justice." 

This was both courageous and magnanimous on her 
part ; thoroughly characteristic of the way in which she 
flung herself in the fore-front of battle for any cause 
that she took up. Her sympathies for liberty and free- 
thought led her to follow, with several other ladies, the 
victory-bringing flag of Garibaldi, the Liberator, and to 
plunge into the thick of the carnage at Mentana ; and so 
now, when she saw the Spiritual Idea battling against 
Materialistic Science, no fear of contamination by contact 
with fraudulent mediums, evil spirits, or cliques of 

Spiritualism 71 

Spiritualists who preached and practised free-love and 
the breaking of healthy social bonds, made her hesitate 
for one moment about taking her stand on the side of 
Spiritualism. Her policy may be condemned by some, 
her language — as seen in the few specimens, out of many, 
above quoted — be regarded as a full endorsement of the 
very Spiritualism she afterwards so mercilessly criticised ; 
but to judge her fairly, one must try and put himself be- 
side her under the then existing conditions ; he must try 
to realise how much she knew, both in theory and prac- 
tise, about psychical phenomena that the world need to 
know before casting itself into the lethal stream of 
Materialism. Many of us would have used much more 
guarded language, and thus avoided leaving behind us 
such a tangle of contradictions and confusion ; but then 
she was exceptional in every respect — in mental and 
psychical powers, in temperament and in method of con- 
troversy. One object of this narrative is to show that, 
with all human frailties and eccentricities that may be 
ascribed to her, she was a great, high-towering personage, 
who did a great altruistic work for the world, and was 
rewarded with savage ingratitude and blinded deprecia- 

Her instructions to me about the existence of the ele- 
mental spirit world went on — as before noted — apace 
with our private intercourse with (alleged) rapping 
spirits, and so, long before I had adopted the Eastern 
theory of Pisachas and Bhatas,called by us elementaries,* 

* In point of fact, both of us used to call the spirits of the elementb 
"elementaries," thus causing much confusion, but when Ids wab 

72 Old Diary Leaves 

I had come to distinguish the two unlike classes of phe- 
nomena-working agents, the sub-human nature-spirits, 
and the earth-bound, ex-human elementaries. Towards 
the close of the winter season of 1874-5, while at Hart- 
ford seeing my book through the press, but too late to 
re-write it, I had the rare chance of consulting the 
superb collection of books on the occult sciences in the 
Watkinson Library of Reference, made for it by Dr. H. 
C. Trumbull, the erudite Librarian. I was thus pretty 
well prepared to understand H. P. B.'s verbal explana- 
tions, and her many surprising psychical phenomena in 
illustration of them. This course of preparatory read- 
ing, lectures, and phenomena also stood me in good 
stead when she addressed herself to the laborious task 
of writing Isis Unveiled, and enlisted me as her helper. 

It was in the first quarter of the year 1875, that we 
became interested in the Spiritual Scientist, a small but 
bright and independent journal, published and edited 
in Boston, by Mr. E. Gerry Brown. The crying need of 
the hour was a paper which, while recognised as an or- 
gan of Spiritualism, could be induced to help in bring- 
ing Spiritualists to scrutinise more closely the behaviour 
and pretended psychical gifts of their mediums, and lo 
patiently listen to the theories of spirit lieing and inter- 
course with the living. The older journals of that class 
were, what might be termed too orthodox, while Mr. 

being written, I suggested that we should employ the distinctive 
terms "elemental" and "elementary" in tlje connections they have 
ever since had. It is too late to change them now, else I should do it. 

Spiritualism 73 

Brown's specialty seemed to be to win his way by fear- 
less criticism of abuses. Our relations with him were 
brought about by a letter to him {Spi. Set., March 8, 1875), 
and within the next month he had been taken under 
the favour of the powers behind H. P. B. In the number 
of the journal in question for April 17th, appeared a 
very notable circular headed " Important to Spiritual- 
ists." The importance of it to Mr. Gerry Brown was in 
the promise (fairly redeemed) * it embodied of literary 
and pecuniary help to be given him, while to the public 
which concerned itself in the question of Spiritualism, it 
held out the profitable idea that the paper would be 
used as the organ of the new movement for placing 
American Spiritualism on a more philosophical and in- 
tellectual basis. The circular stated that the leading 
Spiritualist papers were " compelled to devote most of 
their space to communications of a trivial and purely 
personal character, interesting only to the friends of the 
spirits sending them . . . " and to beginners. The 
London Spiritualist and Paris Revve Spirite were cited 
as " examples of the kind of paper that should have been 
established in this country (U. S. A.) long ago — papers 
which devote more space to the discussion of princi- 
ples, the teaching of philosophy, and the display of con- 
servative critical ability, than to the mere publication of 

* Professor Buchanan, Epes Sargent, Charles Sotheran and other 
known writers, not to mention our two selves, began contributing to 
his columns, and H.P.B. and I gave him several hundred dollars to- 
wards current expenses. The latter form of help was acknowledged 
in his "leader" of June I, 1875, entitled " Rock Bottom," 

74 Old Diary Leaves 

the thousand-and-one minor occurrences of . . . cir- 
cles.'' The third paragraph read as follows : 

" It is the standing reproach of American Spiritualism 
that it teaches so few things worthy of a thoughtful 
man's attention : that so few of its phenomena occur 
under conditions satisfactory to men of scientific train- 
ing ; that the propagation of its doctrines is in the hands 
of so many ignorant, if not positively vicious, persons ; 
and that it offers, in exchange for the orderly arrange- 
ments of prevailing religious creeds, nothing but an un- 
digested system of present and future moral and social 
relations and accountability." * 

I wrote every word of this circular myself, alone cor- 
rected the printer's proofs, and paid for the printing. 
That is to say, nobody dictated a word that I should 
say, nor interpolated any words or sentences, nor con- 

* I was then and have since often been reproached by Spiritualists 
for the severity of my strictures upon the prevalent large admixture 
of immoral views and behaviour among mediums and whole groups 
of pretended Spiritualists, but I never wrote more caustic things 
about them than are to be found in the newspaper articles and books 
of leading writers among themselves. To say nothing of the sweep- 
ing and savage depreciation of the whole company of his brother 
mediums and psychics, by that peacock medium, Home, Mrs. 
Hardinge Britten says (Nineteenth Century Miracles, p. 426), that 
her spirit guides had told her that "the worst foes of Spiritualism 
would be of its own household, and the cruellest stabs directed 
against it would be dealt by the hands of Spiritualists themselves." 
In another place she says: "and thus this great cause, like many 
another of the world's purest Messiahs, has been lifted up on the 
cross of martyrdom between the thieves of licentiousness and cu- 
pidity " ; if it had not died out, " it is not for lack of every available 
effort on the part of humanity to sap its integrity by internal corrup- 

Spiritualism -5 

trolled my action in any visible way. I wrote it to 
carrj- out the expressed wishes of the Masters that we — 
H. P. B. and I — should help the Editor of the ScicrJis; 
at what was to him, a difScult crisis, and used my best 
judgment as to the language most suitable for the pur- 
pose. When the circular was in type at the printer's 
and I had corrected the proofs, and changed the ar- 
rangement of the matter into its final paragraphs, I en- 
quired of H. P. B. (by letter) if she thought I had bet- 
ter issue it anonymously or append my name. She 
replied that it was the wish of the Masters cha; i: should 
be signed thus : " J^or the Committee of Sran, Brother- 
hood OF Luxor." And so it was signed and pub- 
lished. She subsequently explained that our work, and 
much more of the same kind, was being supervised by a 
Committee of seven Adepts belonging to the Egyptian 

lion, as well as by external antagonism. . . ." Free-love 
"had expiniei from an incipient genn to the full maturity of -a. 
widespread movement. . . The mcnscroas flow of Ucentioas 

doctrine, often illustrated by monstrous licentiousness oi life and con- 
Quci. which for a certain period of time spreii like an evil conia^on 
throughout the United Sc.i'.e>. . cast a most unjust acid ruin- 

ous ill-odour over the reputation and belief of tens of thousands of 
innocent peri«ns,"' etc. I never wrote a."ydiing as strong a^ that ; 
though eveu Mrs. Britten hag not exaggerated the unsavoury ccitdition 
of affairs produced by the unrestricted encouragentert of intercourse 
between the living and the dead. To regulate this intercourse, to 
announce its perils, and to show what was true spiritualism, and 
how man r^n develop true spirirualttv, was plainly H. P. B.'s de- 
sign and her motive for deciar.r.g herself a Spirituahst. This will 
be eicen: I think, to those f-ho follow her course throughout to 
the dav ol her death. 

76 Old Diary Leaves 

group of the Universal Mystic Brotherhood.* Up to this 
time she had not even seen tlie circular, but now I took 
one to her myself and she began to read it attentively. 
Presently she laughed, and told me to read the acrostic 
made by the initials of the six paragraphs. To my 
amazement, I found that they spelt the name under 
which I knew the (Egyptian) adept under whose orders 
I was then studying and working. Later, I received a 
certificate, written in gold ink, on a thick green paper, 
to the effect that I was attached to this " Observatory," 
and that three (named) Masters had me under scrutiny. 
Tliis title. Brotherhood of Luxor, was pilfered by the 
schemers who started, several years later, the gudgeon- 
trap called " The H. B. of I/." 'I'he existence of the 
real Lodge is mentioned in Kenneth Mackenzie's 
Royal Masonic Cyclopadia ([1. 461). 

Nothing in my early occult experience during this H. 
P. B. epoch, made a deeper impression on my mind 
than the above acrostic. It proved to ine that space 
was no bar to the transmission of thought-suggestions 
from the teacher's to the pupil's brain ; and it supported 
the theory that, in the doing of world-work, the agent 
may often be actually led by overseeing directors to do 
things which they choose to have done, without his being 
at all conscious that his mind is not functioning under 
the sole impulse of its controlling Ego. Apjilying this 

* It has been already explained that 1 first worked under the 
Egyptian part of the African section and later under the Indian 

Spiritualism 77 

not unreasonable or unscientific theory to the whole 
history of the Theosophical Society, who can say in 
what proportion of cases any of us has been uncon- 
sciously doing what had to be done, but might not have 
been done if no external influence had given us the 
push ? And how many of the wretched mistakes, mis- 
steps, and injurious eccentricities that have occurred, or 
been shown, by either of us, were due to our just being 
left to follow our own wrong impulses, the result of our 
temperaments, ignorance, moral weakness or bigoted 
prejudices ? People often wonder why the various scan- 
dals, such as the Coulomb and lesser ones which we 
have had to suffer from, were not foreseen and prevented 
by the Masters ; why H. P. B. was not forewarned of 
what traitors would do ; and why, in the seemingly most 
serious crisis, no help came, no spiritual guide appeared. 
Of course, such questions imply the absurdity that Ma- 
hatmas, who implicilty believe in and govern their own 
actions by the strict rules of Karma, would take us, like 
so many puppets on wires, or so many poodles being 
taught tricks, and put us through set motions, to the 
meddling with our Karma, and the consequent inter- 
ference with our rights. What the evolution of society 
needs at a particular juncture is, perhaps, that a certain 
person should do, write, or say a certain thing which, 
once done, brings after it a whole train of conse- 
quences. If that necessary thing involves no Karmic 
wrong to the individual, the mental impulse to do it 
may be given him, and so the sequences of cause 

78 Old Diary Leaves 

and effect be begotten. The destinies of Europe, for 
example, are under the control of three or four men, 
who might meet together in a boating party and in the 
same boat. If some certain trifle should occur, then 
such a kingdom would ultimately be destroyed, such a 
dynasty develop into a scourge of the race, or such an 
era of peace and progress be entered upon. If either 
the one or the other be demanded at that juncture by 
the interests of all mankind, and no other means are 
available for precipitating the crisis, then I could con- 
ceive it as lawful for the mental suggestion to be made 
from without : or, take a simpler case, which is also 
historical. A point had been reached in the progress of 
Egyptology where the world needed a better clue than it 
had for reading the hieroglyphics : in the literature of 
that ancient civilisation lay great and precious truths — 
truths, the time to republish which had arrived. All 
other means failing, an Arab labourer is simply moved to 
dig at a certain spot, or break open a certain sarcopha- 
gus ; he finds an engraved stone or an inscribed papyrus ; 
which he sells to Mr. Grey, at Thebes, in 1820, or to 
Signer Casati, at Karnak or Luxor ; who, in turn, trans- 
mit it to Champollion, or Young, or Ebers ; who find 
the missing clue, and with it decipher very important 
old writings. It is the helping, not the fratricidal, hand 
that these hidden benefactors of ours hold out to 
humanity. Or, to cite a case much nearer home : I am 
moved to buy a paper on a certain day ; I read a certain 
thing in it ; which prompts me to take a natural step ; 

spiritualism 79 

which, later, brings H. P. B. and myself together ; 
which, after a while, evolves the Theosophical Society 
and its consequences. For taking the initial step, I reap 
no merit ; but if the effect is a good one, and I merge 
myself into it, and work for it with unselfish fervour, then 
I do share in the whole benefit that that effect imparts 
to humanity. I saw some poor people at Galle, once, 
reaching up their hands to touch the baskets of food 
which richer neighbours had procured for and were 
bearing on their heads to a company of Buddhist monks. 
Upon inquiry I was told that, by feeling a true sympathy 
for the deed of charity, they partook of the merit it in- 
volved. It meant more than a long sermon to me, and I 
embodied the idea in my Buddhist Catechism. 

I found among my papers last week an old letter from 
the Hon. Alexander Aksakoff, of St. Petersburgh, which 
though probably not one of those which were so phe- 
nomenally abstracted from the mailbags en route to New 
York and delivered to me in Philadelphia, since it is 
dated in St. Petersburgh the 4-i6th April, 1875, and 
must have reached me after my visit to H. P. B. was 
finished, contains a lead-pencil postscript on the fourth 
page in the quaint handwriting of " John King." He 
tells me that my correspondent " is a truly good man 
and a learned one, too " — facts which are now acknowl- 
edged universally. Having lost or given away the 
envelope, I cannot fix the exact date of the letter's 
arrival. In it, M. Aksakoff informs me that, after 
reading my Graphic letters and noting their effect in the 

8o Old Diary Leaves 

two hemispheres, he is convinced of the absolute neces- 
sity for an exhaustive inquiry into the phenomena, by 
the best men of science. He asks me if I cannot 
organise such a committee, and tells me what has been 
done in Russia. There are four professors of eminence, 
in as many different Universities, who have, in com- 
mittee, gone thoroughly into the matter and satisfied 
themselves of the reality of the phenomena ; if I choose, 
these scientific gentlemen will send me a joint appeal to 
their American colleagues, to do as they have done, and 
thus settle, once and for all, the most important prob- 
lem that man has to solve for his own sake and for the 
welfare of the race. Of course, this was exactly the mo- 
tive which had prompted my undertaking the Eddy 
researches, but I found the obstacles presented, in the 
ignorant and brutish obstinacy of the mediums and their 
whole corps of "guides," insurmountable, and recorded 
the fact in my book. I was a little amused to read, in a 
Postscript written two days later than his letter, that M. 
Aksakoff, who had meanwhile finished reading H. P. B.'s 
Russian translation of my book, said it was plain that an 
orderly scientific search with such people as mediums 
was impossible, and begged me to consider his plan as 
cancelled. The matter did not drop there, however, for 
our correspondence was kept up, and resulted in H. P. 
B. and I being asked to serve as a committee to select a 
trustworthy medium to be sent over to St. Petersburgh, 
for trial and testing by a Special Committee of Profes- 
sors of the St. Petersburgh Imperial University. We 

Spiritualism 8i 

accepted the commission, and our joint card announcing 
the fact to the public appeared in the Spiritual Scientist 
of July S, 1S75 — as far as I can make out from the con- 
fused way in which the newspaper-cuttings are pasted in 
our Scrap-Book, Vol. I. At all events, in the journal of 
that day was published a translation of Mr. Aksakoff's 
letter to H. P. B. broaching the subject, thus : 

" My praver to you and Col. Olcott is as follows : 
Will you be so kind as to translate into English the en- 
closed ' Appeal to Mediums "... consult together 
and report to us [the Imperial Society of Experimen- 
talists in Physics] whom, of American mediums we had 
better invite to St. Petersburgh in the best interests of 
the Cause ? For our first e.\;periments we should prefer 
having mediums for simple but strong physical mani- 
festations /■/; ill/- light. Use all your influence to get us 
good mediums, begin the work at once and advise me 
without loss of time. Bear in mind that money is no 
object with us," etc. 

Naturallv enough this letter drew out a good many 
applications, and we personally tested the mediumship 
of several of the parties, seeing some extremely sur- 
prising phenomena, and some really beautiful. Its ap- 
pearance was seized upon by certain impudent impostors 
to give a public show of pretended mediumship at the 
Boston Theatre, on a Sunday evening in the same July, 
advertising themselves as engaged to go to Russia. We 
exposed and repudiated them in a card sent, July 19, 
1S7S, to all the Boston papers. 

~ 6 


BY common consent the Western public have as- 
sumed that professional mediums, whose food 
and lodging depend upon their constant ability to pro- 
duce psychical phenomena when patrons come to see the 
same, are greatly tempted in emergencies to supplement 
real ones with fraudulent imitations. Poor, almost with- 
out an exception ; often invalids, yet obliged to support 
children and perhaps lazy or disabled husbands ; their 
incomes extremely precarious, at best, because the me- 
diumistic state depends upon psycho-physiological as 
well as atmospheric conditions beyond their control, it 
is not strange that, under the pressure of quarter-day or 
some other dire necessity, their moral sense should be- 
come blunted. Naturally they yield to the temptation 
flung at them by credulous visitors, who, apparently, ask 
nothing better than to pay to be duped. At any rate, 
that is how professional mediums have explained it to 
me. They have told me their miserable life-histories, 

how the fatal gift of mediumship embittered their child- 


Oriental Disapprobation 83 

hood, made them shunned and persecuted by their 
schoolmates, sought after and run down by the curious, 
caused them to be used as a drawing sensation by trav- 
elling showmen, to the profit of their own parents {vide 
the tragical story of the Eddy children as told by them 
to me, in P. O. W., chapter II.), and developed the seeds 
of hysteria, phthisis, or scrofula, to the ruin of their 
health. Mrs. Hardinge Britten, than whom nobody has 
known more of mediums and mediumship, told me in 
New York, in 1875, that she had seldom or ever known 
a medium who was not of a scrofulous or phthisical tem- 
perament, and medical observation shows, I believe, that 
derangements of the reproductive organs are quite com- 
mon among them. Genuine mediumship, promiscuously 
practised, is, I fear, a serious physical danger, to say 
nothing as regards its effect morally. Every physician 
tells us that to sleep in an ill-ventilated room in company 
with a mixed company of persons, some perhaps dis- 
eased, is most dangerous and may prove fatal. But this 
risk is nothing as compared with that run by the poor 
public medium, who has to tolerate the presence and be 
soaked in the magnetic aura of all comers, be they mor- 
ally or physically diseased or healthy : gross, sensual, 
irreligious, unspiritual, brutish in habitual thought, word, 
or deed, or the opposite. Alas ! poor things, theirs is a 
psychical prostitution. Thrice happy such as can de- 
velop and practise their psychical gifts in the pure sur- 
roundings of a select and superior company : so were 
Temple seeresses guarded in the ancient times. 

§4 Old Diary Leaves 

The above remarks are pertinent to the line of inquiry 
that H. P. B. and I had undertaken, at M. Aksakoif 's re- 
quest, on behalf of the St. Petersburgh scientific com- 
mittee. While we realised that we should have to choose 
among professionals, it not being likely that any private 
medium would consent to the publicity and annoyance 
of such an ordeal, we determined that we should be 
thoroughly satisfied of the real and reasonably available 
psychical powers of the male or female medium we should 
ultimately recommend. M. Aksakoff's desire that prefer- 
ence should be given to those whose phenomena could 
be shown " in the light," was most reasonable, for thus 
the chance of successful trickery is minimised ; yet there 
were then — and are now, for that matter — few mediums 
who could count upon anything of a very striking char- 
acter happening at their seances by daylight. Our choice 
would have been narrowed down to two or three like 
C. H. Foster, or Dr. Slade, who were equally indifferent 
whether they sat by day or night since their successes in 
giving " tests of spirit identity " were tolerably certain. 
We decided, therefore, to find a good medium at any 
rate, whether he or she came quite up to M. Aksakoff's 
ideal or not. Our inquiries extended over several 
months, to the May of 1876, if I am not mistaken, and 
as I may as well finish with this episode, now that it is 
taken up, even though it breaks in upon the chronologi- 
cal sequence of events in T, S. history, I shall recall the 
successive stages of the St. Petersburgh mediumistic 
inquiry as best I can. 

Oriental Disapprobation Ss 

In the summer of iS;5, a woman named Youngs was 
pr.ictising mediumship for a livelihood at New York. 
She was, as I dimly recall her, a largely built person, of 
obstreperous manners and strong physical as well as 
psychical powers. Her tone of bullying towards her 
■■ guides in Spirit Land " was in amusing contrast with 
the honeyed accents commonly used by most mediums 
towards the in\ isibles. " Xow, then, spirits." she would 
say, " don't be lazy : hurry up ; what are you about ? 
Move the piano, or do this or Come, we are all 
w.iiting ! ■■ AnJ So it Ihey did, as though obedient to her 
will. Her chief phenomenon was the causing of the 
spirits to raise a full-sij:ed, heavy piano and making it 
tilt forward and backward in time to her playing of airs 
upon it. I heard of her and thought I would get H. P. B. 
to go with me and see what slie could do. She con- 
sented, so I put into my pocket three things, to be used 
as new tests of her mediumship, a raw egg and two Eng- 
lish walnuts, the experimental value of which will be 
presently seen. Fortunately I am not obliged to rely 
wholly upon memory, since I find a cutting from the 
New York Sun of Sejnember 4, 1S75. giving an accurate 
.account of the seance and of my tests. Fifteen persons 
were present. The Sun reporter says : 

" The performance began with the lifting of the piano 
by invisible powers, three times for " yes " and once for 
'no,' in answer to questions put by Mrs. Youngs, she 
resting her hands lightly on top of the music-rack. She 
then sat down and pla\ ed \ arious airs, and the instru- 

86 Old Diary Leaves 

ment rose and fell and beat the time. She then went to 
one end of the piano and called up Colonel Olcott, and 
as many more of the others as chose to make the experi- 
ment, and, causing each to place his left hand under- 
neath the case, laid one of her hands lightly under it, 
whereupon, at her demand, the end of the heavy instru- 
ment [He says elsewhere that he, the reporter, ' could 
not lift one end of it,' so great was its weight] was lifted 
off the floor without the slightest effort on her part. The 
Colonel here asked to be permitted to make a single test 
which should not injure the medium at all. Mrs. Youngs 
consenting, he produced a hen's egg from a box, and 
asked her to hold it in her hand against the under side 
of the piano, and then request the spirits to raise it. The 
medium said that, in the course of her mediumship, such 
a test had never been suggested, and she could not say 
it would be successful, but she would try. She took the 
egg and held it as desired, and then rapping upon the 
case with her other hand, asked the spirits to see what 
they could do. Instantly the piano rose as before, and 
was held for a moment suspended in the air. The novel 
and striking experiment was a complete success. 

" Mrs. Youngs then asked as many of the heaviest per- 
sons ill the room as could sit on the instrument to mount 
it, and the invitation being accepted by seven ladies and 
gentlemen, she played a march, and the instrument, per- 
sons and all, were lifted easily. Colonel Olcott now 
produced a couple of English walnuts, and asked the 
spirits to crack the shells under the piano legs without 

Oriental Disapprobation 87 

crushing the kernels, the idea being to show that some 
power beyond the oae woman herself, and a power gov- 
erned by intelligence, was exerting itself. The spirits 
were willing, but as the piano legs rested upon rolling 
casters the test was abandoned. He then asked to be 
permitted to hold an egg in his own hand against the 
under side of the piano, and have Mrs. Youngs lay her 
hand beneath and against his, so that he might have a 
perfect demonstration of the fact that no muscular force 
whatever was being exerted by her. This test was also 
agreed to and immediately tried. The piano rose the 
same as before. The manifestations of the e^"ening were 
then brought to a close with the lifting of the instrument 
::iithoui the medium's hands touching it at all." 

This was certainly a very striking manifestation of 
psycho-dynamical power. Xot only was a seven-and-a- 
half-octave piano, too heavy for one man to lift endwise, 
raised without the least expenditure of muscular force 
by the medium or any other living person present, and 
in a fully lighted room, but an intelligent comprehension 
of requests and compliance with them was demonstrated. 
Let us admit that the medium's intelligence was alone in 
play, still we have the problem of how she could trans- 
form her thought, first into will and then into- active 
force. The final test of making her lay her hand beneath 
mine, which held the egg, and then cause the ponder- 
ous instrument to rise as lightly as a feather, contrary to 
the law of gravity, was to me, as well as to H. P. B.^ 
conclusive proof of her mediumistic gift, and we made 

88 Old Diary Leaves 

her a conditional oiler to rucommend her to M. Aksa- 
koff. The condition was that she should subject herself 
to a series of harmless yet convincing tests, the success- 
ful passing of which would warrant us in thoroughly 
endorsing her. She, however, dec:lined tlie (jffcr on ac- 
count of tlie long voyage and her unwillingness to leave 
her country to go among foreigners. I do not know 
what became of her, but I heard that she adopted my 
egg test as her stock demonstration of her true medium- 
ship. There was very little spirituality about it, but a 
good deal of revolutionising physics, thai I thought 
might stagger Professor Mendeleyeff and his brother 

A very much prettier and more poetical phase of me- 
diumship was that of Mrs. Mary Baker Thuyer, of JJos- 
ton, Mass., to tlie examination of whose phenomena i 
devoted some five weeks of the same summer season. 
She is, or was, what is called a " flower medium," viz., a 
pyschic in whose presence rain showers of flowers, grow- 
ing bushes, vines and grasses, and leaves and branches 
freshly torn from trees, perhaps of a kind that are exotics 
and to be found only in hot-houses in that cold country. 
When I knew her she was a middle-aged woman of win- 
some manners, very obliging as to tests, and always 
cheerful and friendly. Like many other public medi- 
ums, however, she drank to some extent ; she said — 
and I can quite believe it — to make up for the terrible 
drain of the phenomena upon her nervous power. That 
she was a real medium I am fully convinced, but that 

Oriental Disapprobation 89 

she also supplemented by trickery her genuine phenom- 
ena, I also Joh'w. I know, because I caught her at it one 
evening in the year 1S7S, shortly before our leaving for 
India, when she was trying to convince me of her ability 
to ■■ pass matter through matter," in imitation of Pro- 
fessor Zollner's celebrated experiments at Leipzig with 
the help of the medium Slade. I was very sorry that 
she tried the game with me, for until then I had had 
nothing but good to say of her. It is sad, I repeat, to 
know that these poor mediumistic martyrs to human 
selfishness and inquisiiiveness are so often, not to sa> 
invariablv, driven by necessity to practising on credulity 
for the lack of reasonable maintenance and surveillance, 
bv properb constituted spiritualistic societies and com- 
mittees, in command of adequate funds for the purpose. 
I hft\e always pitied rather than blamed the wretched 
mediums, while laying the responsibility upon the Spirit- 
ualists as a body, where it solely belongs. Let those who 
think differently try starvation and selfish neglect for a 
while, and see if they will then be so quick to condemn 
tricking ps\ chics. 

.\ long summarised report of my Thayer investigations 
— in part of which H. P. B. assisted — appeared in the 
Xew York Sun of August rS, 1875, and was extensively 
copied throughout America and Europe, and translated 
into various languages. 

The method of procedure at Mrs. Thayer's stances 
was this : The company being assembled, some res]iect- 
able visitor agreeable to all was asked to examine the 

90 Old Diary Leaves 

room and furniture, to fasten and, if he liked, seal the 
windows, lock the doors and take charge of the keys. 
The medium would also, if asked (provided that she 
meditated no trickery), suffer her dress to be searched 
for hidden flowers or other objects. She permitted me 
to do this whenever I liked, and willingly suffered me to 
tie and seal her up in a bag, a test I first employed with 
Mrs. Holmes. All present would then seat themselves 
about a large dining-table, join hands (the medium as 
well as the rest), the lights would be put out, and in per- 
fect darkness phenomena would be waited for. After 
some delay one could hear a pattering on the bare table- 
top, the air would be filled with fragrance, and Mrs. 
Thayer would call for a light. Upon the room being 
illuminated, the surface of the table would be seen, some- 
times, quite covered with flowers and plants, and some- 
times they would be found thrust into the dress of the 
sitters or into their hair. Occasionally butterflies would 
come, or a rush of flying birds would be heard overhead 
and there might be a dove, a canary, a linnet, or some 
other bird, fluttering to the four corners of the room ; 
or a gold-fish would be flopping about on the table, wet, 
as if just taken from the water. Sometimes people pres- 
ent would cry out in pleased wonder on finding between 
their hands some flower or plant they had mentally asked 
might be brought them. One evening I saw in front of 
a Scottish gentleman a full-grown heather plant of his 
native country, roots and all, and with the soil clinging 
to them as if it had just been uprooted. There were even 

Oriental Disapprobation 91 

three angle worms wriggling in the dirt. It was quite a 
common thing for smilax and other vines, seemingly just 
torn from their pots or beds, and with the soil amidst 
their roots, to be brought : I had them myself. But I 
had a better thing than that. One afternoon, I visited 
Forest Hills Cemetery, situate in a suburb of Boston, 
and, passing through the green-houses, my attention was 
struck by a curious plant with long, narrow leaves, striped 
with white and pale green, known in botany as the 
DraccRna Regina. With my blue pencil I drew under- 
neath one of the leaves the six-pointed star and mentally 
asked the spirits to bring it to me in Mrs. Thayer's next 
circle, on the following evening. On that occasion I sat 
beside her and held her hands to make sure of her good 
faith. In the dark, I felt some cool and moist object 
drop upon one of my hands which, when the room was 
again lit up, proved to be my marked Draccena leaf ! 
To make assurance doubly sure, I revisited the green- 
house and found that my leaf had actually been detached 
from the stalk and the one I had in my pocket fitted the 
fracture ! A number of similar facts, which I lack space 
to even cursorily mention, convinced me that Mrs. 
Thayer was a real psychic ; there was, moreover, a cer- 
tain physiological phenomenon which not only strength- 
ened my belief, but cast much light upon the whole 
problem of mediumship. Holding both her hands in 
mine, I noticed that just at the moment when the falling 
plants began to patter on the table, she would shudder 
as if chilly, sigh, and her hands instantly turned deathly 

92 Old Diary Leaves 

cold, as though a flush of iced water had suddenly run 
through her veins. The next moment the hands would 
resume the normal temperature of health. I challenge 
all the doubting scientists in the world to imitate this 
phenomenon in themselves. It seems indicative of a 
total change of " vital polarity," in the making of phe- 
nomena, to use a necessary expression. When H. P. B. 
evoked the full-length spirit-form out of Mrs. Holmes's 
cabinet (^P. O. VV., 477) she clutched my hand convul- 
sively and her hand grew icy cold ; the hand of Signer 
B., the Italian sorcerer was like ice after his rain-com- 
pelling phenomenon ; and the passage of the hysteriac 
into the cataleptic trance and other deeper stages of 
physical unconsciousness, is attended with abnormal 
lowering of bodily temperature. Dr. A. Moll says 
{^Hypnotising 113) that the "particularly surprising" 
experiments of Kraft-Ebing prove that " we must as- 
sume an astonishing capacity for regulating the tempera- 
ture of the body " by hypnotic suggestion. It is fair to 
infer, therefore, that such a very marked change in 
animal heat as we have seen occurring in Mrs. Thayer 
and others at the moment when psychical phenomena 
are happening, indicates bona fides — the pathological 
change could not be simulated. Not to dwell too long 
on this medium's case, highly interesting though it is, I 
will merely mention that at one of her public stances I 
counted and identified eighty-four species of plants ; at 
another, given under my own test-conditions, saw birds 
appear, caught and kept them ; at another, at a private 

Oriental Disapprobation 93 

house and in broad daylight, saw flowers and a branch 
torn from a tree in the compound, brought ; and at still 
another, in the same friend's house — where H. P. B. and 
I were both guests, she having come there from Phila- 
delphia and I from New York, to follow out these inves- 
tigations for M. Aksakoff — saw big stones and a quaint 
old table-knife of an ancient pattern, dropped on the 
table. But one particular rose given me by Mrs. Thayer's 
benevolent Pushpa Yakshini (See Art. " Fire Elemen- 
tals," Theosophist, vol. xii., 259) was the vehicle for a 
phenomenon by H. P. B. that excelled all that I had 
ever seen a medium do. 

Our kind hostess, Mrs. Charles Houghton, wife of a 
well-known lawyer of Boston, living in the suburb of 
Roxbury, drove into town with me one evening to attend 
Mrs. Thayer's public seance. H. P. B. declined to go, 
so we left her talking with Mr. Houghton in the drawing- 
room. The carriage had been ordered to come for us 
at a certain hour, but the stance had proved a short one 
and all the assistants had left save Mrs. Houghton, another 
lady, and myself. As we had nothing better to occupy 
ourselves with, I asked Mrs. Thayer to give us three a 
private seance, to which she obligingly agreed. So we 
took places at the table. I held the medium's two hands 
and placed a foot upon her two feet, one of the ladies 
fastened the doors and saw that the windows were se- 
cure, and the other took charge of the light. This being 
extinguished, we waited in darkness for some time, but 
there was no sound of plant-dropping. Presently we 

94 Old Diary Leaves 

heard the carriage drive up to the door, and at the same 
moment I felt a cool, moist flower lightly dropped, as 
though it might have been a snow-flake, upon the back 
of my hand. I said nothing until the candle was lighted, 
and even then continued holding Mrs. Thayer's hands, 
and called the ladies' attention to the fact. The flower 
on my hand was a lovely, half-opened double moss-rose 
bud, glistening with drops of dew. The medium, start- 
ing as though some one had addressed her from behind, 
said : " The spirits say. Colonel, that that is a present for 
Madame Blavatsky." I thereupon handed it to Mrs. 
Houghton, and she gave it over to H. P. B. on reaching 
home, where we found her smoking cigarettes and still 
talking with our host. Mrs. Houghton left the room to 
go and lay off her bonnet and wrap, and I seated myself 
with the others. H. P. B. was holding the rose in her 
hand, smelling its fragrance and with a peculiar far-away 
look in her face, that her intimates always associated 
with the doing of her phenomena. Her reverie was in- 
terrupted by Mr. Houghton's saying, " What an exqui- 
site flower, Madame ; will you kindly let me see it ? " She 
handed it to him with the same dreamy look and as if 
mechanically. He sniffed its odour, but suddenly ex- 
claimed : " How heavy it is ! I never saw a flower like 
this. See, its weight actually makes it bend over towards 
the stalk ! " " What are you talking about ? " I re- 
marked, " There is nothing unusual about it ; certainly 
there was not awhile ago when it fell on my hand. Let 
roe see it." I took it from him with my left hand, and 

Oriental Disapprobation 95 

lo ! it weighed certainly very heavy. " Take care ; 
don't break it ! " exclaimed H. P. B. Tenderly I lifted 
the bud with the thumb and finger of my right hand and 
looked at it. Nothing visible to the eye accounted for 
the phenomenal weight. But presently there sparkled a 
pin-point of yellow light in its very heart, and before 
I could take a second look, a heavy plain gold ring 
leaped out, as though impelled by an interior spring, 
and fell on the floor between my feet. The rose instantly 
resumed its natural erect position and its unusual weight 
had gone. Mr. Houghton and I, both lawyers, moved 
by the professional instinct of caution, then carefully 
examined the flower, but detected not the slightest sign 
of its petals having been tampered with ; they were so 
closely packed and oxerlaid that there was no possibility 
of forcing the ring under cover without mutilating the 
bud. And, in fact, how could H. P. B. have played the 
trick, right before our two pairs of eyes, in the full glare 
of three gas-jets, and while holding the rose in her right 
hand for not above a couple of minutes before she gave 
it to Mr. Houghton ? Well, certainly, there is an expla- 
nation possible in Occult Science : the matter in the 
gold ring and that in the rose petals could have been 
raised from the third to the fourth dimension, and 
restored back to the third at the instant when the ring 
leaped out of the flower. And that, doubtless, is what 
did happen ; and open-minded physicists should kindly 
note the fact that matter may have weight without physi- 
cal bulk, as this charming experiment proves. The ring 

g6 Old Diary Leaves 

has been found to weigh a half ounce. I am wearing it at 
this moment. It was not a creation out of nothing, only 
a.n apport , it belonged to H. P. B., I think, and it is 
" hall-marked," or otherwise stamped to indicate its 
quality. It was a great ring for phenomena, certainly, 
to judge from what happened to it a year and a half 
later. The Theosophical Society was a year old then, 
and H. P. B. and I were living in two apartment suites 
in the same house. One evening my married sister, 
Mrs. W. H. Mitchell,* came with her husband to visit 
H. P. B. and myself, and, in the course of conversation, 
asked me to see the ring and bade me tell its history. She 
looked at it and put it on her finger while I Avas talking, 
after which she held it towards H. P. B. in the palm of 


her left hand for her to take it. But H. P. B. leaving 
it lying as it was without touching it, closed my sister's 
fingers on it, held the hand for a moment, then let go, 
and told my sister to look at it. It was no longer a 
plain gold ring, for we found three small diamonds im- 
bedded in the metal, " gipsy " fashion, and set so as to 
form a triangle. How was it done ? The least miracu- 
lous theory is that H. P. B. had had a jeweller insert 
the diamonds previously, and concealed them from us 

* If any one chooses to ask her she will corroborate my narrative, 
no doubt. Her address is Orange, New Jersey, U. S. A. 

Oriental Disapprobation 97 

by inhibiting our sense of perception until the spell was 
removed at the moment my sister's hand opened. As a 
hypnotic experiment this is perfectly compreher>sible ; 
I have seen such things done and can do them myself. 
One can not only cover a little diamond with the mask of 
invisibility, but a man, a roomful of people, a house, a tree, 
rock, road, mountain — anything, in short : hypnotic sug- 
gestion includes seemingly limitless possibilities. Well, 
let this particular experiment be explained as it may, it 
was a very perfect success. 

To return to Mrs. Thayer : we were so pleased with 
her phase of mediumship that we offered her the chance 
to go to Russia, but, like Mrs. Youngs and for the same 
reasons, she declined. Similar offers were conditionally 
made to Mrs. Huntoon, a sister of the Eddys, and to 
Mrs. Andrews and Dr. Slade, but all declined. So the 
affair dragged on until the Winter of 1875, by which 
time the Theosophical Society had come into existence ; 
M. Aksakoff's committee had broken the original compact 
framed to secure a thorough investigation of the phe- 
nomena, and, with Prof. Mendeleyeff, an iron-clad mate- 
rialist, at their head, had published a condemnatory 
report, framed on baseless conjecture, not on evidence ; 
whereupon M. Aksakoff, with noble unselfishness and 
from sheer love of the truth, had determined to carry 
out the original programme at his own cost and risk. 
He writes to the London Spiritualist about that time : 

" When I resolved to search after mediums to visit St. 
Petersburgh, ... I decided upon a line of action 

98 Old Diary Leaves 

which I communicated to Colonel Olcott, whom I de- 
puted to select mediums in America. I told him that I 
wanted our committee to have the means of proving the 
abnormal movement of solid objects in the light without 
contact with any living person. I further wished to 
find mediums who could get the movement of solid ob- 
jects in the dark behind curtains, while they were seated 
in front thereof in full view of the sitters," etc. 

This will give my Indian readers an idea of the extra- 
ordinary physical phenomena which were going on at the 
time in the Western countries. In the East, similar dis- 
placements of solid things, such as household furnitvire, 
cooking utensils, articles of clothing, etc., are occasion- 
ally heard of, but always with horror, and the eye-wit- 
nesses have scarcely ever dreamt of making them the 
subjects of scientific research : on the contrary, they are 
looked upon as misfortunes, the work of evil spirits, often 
of earth-bound souls of near relatives and intimate 
friends, and their greatest desire is to abate them as un- 
qualified nuisances. I only repeat what has often been 
explained before by all theosophical writers, in saying that 
intercourse between the living and their deceased friends 
and connections is, to the Asiatic, an abhorrent proof 
that the dead are not happily dissevered from earthly 
concerns, and thus are hampered in their normal evolu- 
tion towards the condition of pure spirit. The West, as 
a whole, despite its religious creed, is grossly materialis- 
tic, imagining the future life as but an extension of this 
in time, — and in space too, if one comes to consider its 

Oriental Disapprobation 99 

physical conceptions of heaven and hell — and can only 
grasp the actuality of post-mortem conscious existence 
through such concrete physical phenomena as M. Aksa- 
koff enumerates, and the many others which astonish the 
visitors to mediums * The East, on the other hand, is 
spiritual and philosophical in its conceptions, and pheno- 
mena of the above kind are to Asiatics but evidences of 
the possession of a low order of psychical powers by 
those who show them. The incident of my flower-born 
ring, of Mrs. Thayer's showers of plants, flowers, and 
birds, and of Mrs. Youngs's lifting of pianos on eggs, 
strike the Western materialist's imagination, not as 
horrors but simply as interesting lies, too scientifically 
revolutionary to be true, yet vastly important if so. I 
suppose I must have heard a hundred times if once, 
in India, that it was a great pity that H. P. B. showed 
phenomena, for it went to prove that she had not 
reached a high stage of Yoga. True, the Yogi is 
warned by Patanjali, as the contemporary bhikshus were 
by Gautama Buddha, to beware of vainly showing their 
wonders when they found the Siddhis had developed 
themselves in the course of their psychical evolution. 
Yet the Buddha himself sometimes displayed his trans- 
cendent powers of this kind, but improved the occasion 

* In drafting the much-discussed " Third Object" of the Theo- 
sophical Society, at New York, my mind was influenced by the know- 
ledge of this fact, and, at the same time, by my ignorance of the full 
scope of Oriental Science. Had I known what evils were to come 
upon us through the pretended development of psychical powers, I 
should have worded it otherwise. 

loo Old Diary Leaves 

to preach the noble doctrines of his Arya Dharma, and 
spur his hearers to the noblest efforts to spiritualise, 
after de-brutifying themselves. And so with most other 
religious teachers. Did not H. P. B. adopt the like 
l)olicy ? Did she not, even while doing her wonders, 
warn us all that they were a very subordinate and insig- 
nificant part of Theosophy — some, mere hypnotic sug- 
gestions, others physical marvels in the handling of 
matter and force, by knowledge of their secrets and an 
acquired control over the elemental races concerned with 
cosmic phenomena ? Nobody can deny this ; nobody 
can truthfully aver that she did not invariably teach 
that the psychical experiment has the same relation to 
spiritual philosophy that the chemical experiment has to 
the science of chemistry. She, no doubt, erred in wast- 
ing power to astonish unimportant observers, that could 
have been far more profitably employed in breaching 
the walls of incredulous and despotic Western science : 
yet she did thereby convince some who were thus in- 
fluenced to do good work for this great movement of 
ours ; and some of the most tireless of that class among 
us came into Eastern out of Western Spiritualism over 
the bridge of psychical phenomena. For my part, I can 
say, that the great range of marvels of educated will- 
potency which she showed me, made it easy for me to un- 
derstand the Oriental theories of spiritual science. My 
greatest sorrow is that others, especially those of my 
Eastern colleagues whose minds were thoroughly pre- 
pared, did not have the same chance. 



OUR search for mediums resulted in our selection 
of Dr. Henry Slade for the St. Petersburgh test. 
Mr. Aksakoff sent me $ i,ooo in gold for his expenses, 
and in due course he departed on his mission. But, 
through greediness, or vanity, perhaps, certainly most 
unadvisably, he stopped in London, gave stances, cre- 
ated a great public excitement, and was arrested on the 
complaint of Professor Lankester and Dr. Donkin on 
the pretence of trickery. C. C. Massey was his counsel, 
and saved him on a technical point, on appeal. Slade 
subsequently gave at Leipzig the famous tests by which 
Professor Zollner proved his theory of the Fourth Di- 
mension, and visited The Hague and other places before 
going to St. Petersburgh. Before we sent him abroad he 
submitted his mediumistic powers to the scrutiny of a 
special committee of the Theosophical Society, which 
with one dissentient, who made a most unfair minority 
report, certified to Mr. Aksakoff its belief in his genuine- 

I02 Old Diary Leaves 

ness. A most instructive account, showing long and in- 
timate familiarity with his powers, was supplied by his 
former business partner, Mr. James Simmons, to the 
issue of the Theosophist for November, 1893. 

I had quite forgotten until I came to write the present 
chapter, at what period in the year 1875 the Eastern 
theory of sub-human and earth-bound spirits was brought 
to public attention, but I now find in our Scrap Books 
that the term " Elementary Spirits " was first used by 
myself in a letter to the Spiritual Scientist of June 3, 
1875, reference being made to the sub-human spirits of 
the elements, or what we now call, "the elementals.'' 
It was but a bare reference, without the giving of any 
explanatory details, and intended as a caution to Spirit- 
ualists against swallowing, as they had been doing previ- 
ously, without proper sifting and analysis, the messages 
of real or pretended mediums as trustworthy communi- 
cations from departed spirits. The publication of the 
"Luxor" circular (in the Spiritual Scientist, April 17, 
1875), provoked some private correspondence and public 
comment, the most important example of the latter being 
a scholarly and interesting article by a young barrister 
named Failes, writing under the pseudonym of " Hiraf," 
which 2c<^Yi^'3.x&d.m\\\& Spiritual Scientist iox 1875, p. 202, 
and was continued in the next week's issue. It is full 
of theosophical ideas interpreted in terms of Rosicru- 
cianism and under that title. The writer presents the 
Eastern philosophy of Unity and Evolution ; and shows 
how it anticipated by many centuries the modern theories 

Dr. Slade 103 

of force- correlation and conservation of energy. Its 
major importance, however, was the fact that it drew 
from H. P. B. a reply, which, in our Scrap-book, she 
calls " My first occult shot," and which, in fact, laid 
open the whole field of thought since ploughed up by 
the members, friends, and adversaries of the Theosophi- 
cal Society. 

In tracing up H. P. B.'s literary history from that point 
until the close of her life, one important fact should be 
borne in mind by such as are willing to do her simple 
justice. She was not a " learned " woman, in the liter- 
ary sense, when she came to America. When, long after 
Ists Unveiled was begun, I inquired of her ever-be- 
loved aunt Mdlle. N. A. Fadeyef, where her niece had 
acquired all this varied knowledge of recondite philoso- 
phies, metaphysics, and sciences, this prodigiously intui- 
tive comprehension of ethnical evolution, the migrations 
of ideas, the occult forces of nature, etc., she wrote me 
frankly that up to their last meeting, some four or five 
years previously, Helena had " not even thought of such 
things in her dreams," that her education had been 
simply that of any young lady of good family. She had 
learnt, besides her native Russian, French, a little 
English, a smattering of Italian, and music : she was 
astounded at my accounts of her erudition, and could 
only attribute it to the same sort of inspiration as had 
been enjoyed by the Apostles, who, on the Day of Pente- 
cost, spoke in strange tongues of which they had previ- 
ously been ignorant. She added that from her childhood 

I04 Old Diary Leaves 

her niece had been a medium, more extraordinary for 
psychical power and variety of phenomena than any of 
whom she had read in the whole course of a lifelong 
study of the subject.* I had a better chance than any 
of her friends to know what were her actual literary 
attainments, having helped her in her correspondence 
and labours of authorship and corrected almost every 
page of her MSS. for years : besides which I had her 
confidence in a greater degree, from 1874 to 1885, than 
any other person. I can affirm, then, that in those early 
days she was not, in her normal state, a learned woman, 
and was never an accurate writer. This is a propos of 
her reply to " Hiraf," in which she went into particulars 
about Occultism and explained the nature of elementary 
spirits. A learned but blindly vindictive critic of hers, 
stigmatises this article as " simply a rehash of the writings 
upon Magic of Eliphas Levi, and Des Mousseaux, and 
Hargrave Jennings' " Rosicrucians." In it, he says, " the 
Madame (sic) disclaims any authority as a teacher, 
calling herself ' poor, ignorant me,' and states that she 
desired simply to tell a little of the little she picked 
up in her long travels in the East. The statement that 
she derived any of this article from ' the East ' is untrue ; 
the whole of it was taken from European books.'' 

And whence did their authors get their knowledge, " 

unless from other authors ? And whence these authors ? 

From the East, always from the East : not one of those 

mentioned was a practical occultist, an adept in practi- 

* Letter dated Odessa, 8/20 May, 1877. 

Dr, Slade 105 

cal psychology ; not even Eliphas Levi, save to the minor 
extent of being able (taking himself as the authority) to 
evoke spirits by the formularies of Ceremonial Magic. 
He was too much addicted to the pleasures of the table 
to be anything higher in Magic. Des Mousseaux was 
simply a most industrious and successful compiler for 
the Jesuits and Theatins, whose complimentary certifi- 
cates he publishes in his works ; and as for the late Mr. 
Hargrave Jennings, we all knew him for an estimable 
little gentleman, a London IttUrateur, with a book know- 
ledge of occult subjects and not conspicuously accurate 
in his deductions. Whether H. P. B. did or did not ac- 
quire her practical psychical knowledge or powers in the 
East, it is undeniable that she had them, could practise 
them whenever she liked, and that her explanations of 
them were identical with those which are given in the 
teachings of every Eastern school of Occult Science. 
I, personally, can further testify that she was in relations 
with Eastern adepts, and that not only she, but even I, 
was visited by them, conversed with them and was taught 
by them, before leaving America and after reaching In- 
dia. To her, the books of Levi, Des Mousseaux, and all 
other modern and ancient writers were simply the tool- 
boxes from which she could take the tools she needed in 
building the Western structure for the habitation of 
Eastern ideas : from one she could take one fact, from 
another, another. She found them but imperfect tools, 
at best, for those who knew, concealed, and those who 
did not, twisted and mutilated or misrepresented their 

io6 Old Diary Leaves 

facts. The Rosicrucian, Hermetic and Theosophical 
Western writers, producing their books in epochs of re- 
ligious ignorance and cruel bigotry, wrote, so to say, 
with the headsman's axe suspended over their necks, or 
the executioner's fagots laid under their chairs, and hid 
their divine knowledge under quaint symbols and mis- 
leading metaphors. The world lacked an interpreter, 
and H. P. B. came to supply the need. Having the clues 
to the labyrinth in her own trained consciousness and 
full practical experience, she led the way, torch in hand, 
and bade the morally brave to follow her.* An Ameri- 
can critic said of Isis that she quoted indiscrimi- 
nately from the classical authors and from the current 
newspapers of the day ; and he was right, for it mat- 
tered not what author or paragraphist she quoted from 
so long as his writing suggested an idea illustrative of 
her present theme. This answer to " Hiraf " was the 
first of her esoteric writings, as her answer to Dr. Beard 
was the first of her defences of mediumistic Spiritual- 
ism. The history of Literature furnishes no more 
surprising spectacle than that of this fashionably un- 
der-educated Russian noblewoman writing English at 
times like an Englishman ; French so pure that French 
authors have told me her articles would serve as models 
of style in French schools ; and Russian so enticingly 
brilliant as to make the conductor of the most impor- 

* I say this with a reservation as to the actual degree of her own 
independent agency in the affair, about which I do not feel willing to 

Dr. Slade 107 

tant of their reviews actually beseech her to write con- 
stantly for it, on terms as high as they gave Tourguenief . 
She was not always at those high-water marks, however ; 
sometimes she wrote such bad English that her MSS. 
had to be almost re-written. Nor, as said, was she an 
orderly or accurate writer ; her mind seemed to rush 
ahead at such a pace, and streams of thought came 
pouring from both sides in such force that confusion and 
want of method were the result in her writing. She 
laughed once, but confessed the justness of the compari- 
son, when I told her that her mind was like Dickens's 
image of Mugby Junction, with its ceaseless trains 
screaming in and screaming out, backing and shunting, 
and from morning to night keeping up a bewildering 
confusion. But beginning with the " Hiraf " article, 
and coming down to the last line she wrote for type, one 
thing must honestly be said — her writing was always full 
of thought-suggestion, brilliant and virile in style, while 
her keen sense of humour often seasoned her most 
ponderous essays with mirth-provoking ideas. To the 
methodical scholar she was exasperating, yet never dull 
or uninteresting. Later on, I shall have occasion to 
speak of the phenomenal changes in her literary and 
conversational moods and styles. I have said, and shall 
always reiterate, that I learnt more from her than from 
any schoolmaster, professor, or author I ever had to do 
with. Her psychical greatness, however, so over- 
matched her early education and mental discipline that 
the critics who knew her only in literature have done 

io8 Old Diary Leaves 

her bitter and savage injustice. X. B. Saintine writes, in 
Picciola, that the penalty of greatness is isolation ; her 
case proves the aphorism : she dwelt on spiritual heights 
whither only the eagles of mankind soar. Most of her 
adversaries have only seen the mud on her shoes ; and, 
verily, sometimes she wiped them even on her friends 
who could not mount on wings as strong as her own. 

The " Hiraf " letter has another historical value in 
that she therein proclaims unequivocally " from personal 
knowledge " the existence of regular schools of occult 
training " in India, Asia Minor, and other countries.'' 
" As in the primitive days of Socrates and other sages of 
antiquity," she says, "so now, those who are willing to 
leam the Great Truth will ever find the chance if they 
only ' try ' to meet some one to lead them to the door 
of 'one who knows when and how.'" She corrects 
" Hiraf's " too sweeping generalisation of calling all oc- 
cultists Rosicrucians ; telling him that that fraternity was 
but one of many occult sects or groups. She now openly 
styles herself " a follower of Eastern Spiritualism," and 
foresees the time when American Spiritualism will " be- 
come a science and a thing of mathematical certitude.'' 
Again, reverting to the question of adepts, she says the 
real Kabbala, of which the Jewish version is but a frag- 
ment, is in possession of " but a few Oriental philoso- 
phers ; where they are, who they are, is more than is 
given me to reveal. Perhaps J do not know it myself 
and have only dreamed it. Thousands will say it is all 
imagination : so be it. Time will show. The only 

Dr. Slade log 

thing I fan say is that svich a body exists, and that the 
location ot their Brotherhoods -will never be revealed to 
other countries until the day when Humanity shall 
awake, Until then, the speculative theory of 

their existence will be supported by what people errone- 
ously believed to be sur.- •:-.:. facts," Her article con- 
veys the warning that it is waste of time to seek to 
become a practical Kabbalist (or Rosicrucian, if you 
will) by acquiring a book knowledge of occult literature ; 
it is as foolish, she savs, " as to try to thread the famous 
labyrinth without the clue, or to open the ingenious 
locks of the mediaeval ages without having possession of 
the keys." She defines the difference between White and 
Black Magic and warns against the latter. Finally, she 
savs : ■■ But say what you (the " very orthodox priests 
and clergymen of various creeds and denominations, you 
who are so intolerant towards Spiritualism." [mark what 
meaning her context gives the term now] ' the purest of 
the Children of Ancient Magic.") will, you cannot help 
that which was. is. and ever will be. namely, the direct 
communication between the two worlds. We term this 
intercourse modem Spiritualism with the same force and 
logic, as when we say the " New World," in speaking of 

I am sure all earnest members of the Theosophical 
Society will be glad to know that as early as July, 1S75, 
H. P. B. affirmed the existence of the Eastern Adepts, 
of the mystic Brotherhood, ot the stores of divine 
knowledge in their keeping, and 01 her personal connec- 

no Old Diary Leaves 

tion with them. She reaffirms this in a letter to the 
Spi. &■«' (p. 64, but of what month of 1875 I cannot tell, 
as she has not dated the cutting in our Scrap-book ; but 
she writes from Ithaca whither she went to visit Professor 
and Mrs. Corson, of Cornell University, in August or 
early September), and puts forth the important idea that 
" Spiritualism, in the hands of an adept, becomes Magic, 
for he is learned in the art of blending together the laws 
of the Universe, without breaking any of them and there- 
by violating Nature. In the hands of an inexperienced 
medium. Spiritualism becomes unconscious sorcery ; 
for ... he opens, unknown to himself, a door of com- 
munication between the two worlds, through which 
emerge the blind forces of Nature lurking in the astral 
Light, as well as good and bad spirits." 

The occult Idea was now fairly launched, and our 
published writings and private correspondence hence- 
forth teemed with such allusions. My first extended 
contribution on those lines was a letter entitled " The 
Immortal Life," dated August 23, 1875, and published in 
the I\/'ew York Tribune of the 30th of that month. I 
state in it that I had believed in the mediumistic phe- 
nomena for about a quarter of a century, but had dis- 
credited the assumed identification of the intelligences 
behind them. I affirm my belief in the reality of ancient 
occult science, and the fact that I had unexpectedly 
"been brought into contact with living persons who 
do, and had in my presence done the very marvels that 
Paracelsus, Albertus, and Apollonius are credited with." 

Dr. Slade 1 1 1 

In saying this, I had in mind not only H. P. B.'s multifa- 
rious phenomena, not only the beginnings of my inter- 
course with the Mahatmas, but also the disclosure to 
my own eyes, in my own bedroom, in a house where 
H. P. B. did not live, and when she was not present, of 
the spirits of the elements, by a stranger whom I casually 
met in New York, one day shortly before penning the 

The stranger came by appointment to my chambers. 
We opened the folding doors which separated the sitting 
from the small bedroom, sat on chairs facing the wide 
doorway, and by a wonderful process of Maya (I now 
suppose) I saw the bedroom converted, as it were, into 
a cube of empty space. The furniture had disappeared 
from my view, and there appeared alternately vivid 
scenes of water, cloudy atmosphere, subterranean caves, 
and an active volcano ; each of the elements teeming 
with beings, and shapes, and faces, of which I caught 
more or less transient glimpses. Some of the forms were 
lovely, some malignant and fierce, some terrible. They 
would float into view as gently as bubbles on a smooth 
stream, or dart across the scene and disappear, or play 
and gambol together in flame or flood. Anon, a mis- 
shapen monster, as horrid to see as the pictures in Bar- 
rett's Magus, would glare at me and plunge forward, as 
though it wished to seize me as the wounded tiger does 
its victim, yet fading out on reaching the boundary of 
the cube of visualised akdsh, where the two rooms joined. 
It was trying to one's nerves, but after my experiences 

I 12 

Old Diary Leaves 

at Eddy's I managed not to " weaken." My stranger 
friend declared himself satisfied with the result of the 
psychical test, and, on leaving, said we might meet again. 
But until now we have not. He seemed a fair-skinned 
Asiatic, but I could not exactly detect his nationality, 
though I then fancied him a Hindu. He talked English 
as fluently as myself. 


WE may now take up the story of the formation 
of the Theosophical Society and show what 
led up to it, who were the people who formed it, and 
how its aims and objects were defined. For this, let it 
be remembered, is a complete history of the Society's 
beginnings, not a mere record of personal recollections 
of H. P. B. 

The way had been prepared for the organisation of 
such a society by the active discussion, first, of Spiritua- 
lism and afterwards of some portions of Eastern spirit- 
ualistic ideas. This had been going on since my N. Y 
Sun report on the Eddys appeared, in August of the 
previous year (1874), and had been tenfold intensified 
since H. P. B. and I met at Chittenden, and used the 
press for the exposition of our heterodox views. Her 
piquant published letters, the stories that were afloat 
about her magical powers, and our several affirmations 
of the existence of non-human races of spiritual beings, 
8 113 

114 Old Diary Leaves 

drew into our acquaintanceship numbers of bright, 
clever people of occult leanings. Among these were 
scientific men, philologists, authors, antiquarians, broad- 
minded clergymen, lawyers, and doctors, some very well 
known Spiritualists, and one or two gentlemen journalists 
attached to metropolitan papers, only too eager to make 
good " copy " out of the business. It was an audacious 
thing, certainly, to stand, defiant of public prejudice, 
and assert the scientific legitimacy of ancient Magic in 
this age of scientific scepticism. Its very boldness com- 
pelled public attention, and .the inevitable result was 
that, in time, those whom the discussion had drawn 
together in sympathy should group themselves together 
as a society for occult research. The attempt of May, 
1875, to form such a nucleus in a " Miracle Club " 
having failed, for the reason stated in Chapter I., the 
next opportunity presented itself when Mr. Felt lectured 
privately to a few friends of ours, in H. P. B.'s rooms at 
46 Irving Place, New York, on the 7th of September of 
the same year. This time there was no failure : the tiny 
seed of what was to be a world-covering banyan tree was 
planted in fertile soil and germinated. I regret to say 
that, to my knowledge, no official memorandum exists of 
the persons actually present on that particular evening, 
though one of them, the Reverend J. H. Wiggin, an 
Unitarian clergyman, published in The Liberal Christian 
of Sept. 4th, a notice of a similar gathering during the 
previous week, at which the fact of Mr. Felt's promised 
lecture was, I think, announced for the evening of the 

Theosophical Society Proposed 1 1 5 

;:i. He z-.:r.ei H. P. B.. mvicl:. S:;r-:r Erxzzesi, ?. 
New Jersey - .:^_e .i::;dh;i wife, and Mr. Charles Sotherar. 
^wflo h.-.d procured ::r hira iron: H. P. B. .in invitstion 

:o ?e yresez:). He e.xrresses his wonder at the r.-.n;e 
and derrh of :he cenversa;: jn, reniarkin; ; 

"It wonld re disccane^ns :? dezail ;he niinuiiae of a 
friendly conversa::."n where ".here w.vs no desire for 
rnblicity nor any naa;- - disyiay. :r offer n;;ions aboa: 
i:. The phallic elenren; in religion; ; recen: wonders 
.vmmc the medinnis : h:s:.^r\" : the s:a.s of flowers : 

n-oetiy ; Xa:are'5 trini.y : : ^av.:a:i:r. : the 
C--.rb.^r.arl ; : Cr; ckes's new about 
the ferce of l:;ac ; the literatnie of Mafic — were amon; 
:hr topics of .an:nta:ed d'.scnssion lajtan; antil after 
midnight. I: Madante 51ava:skv can indeed hr:n; order 
out of the chaos of ntodem st:r;;i;n- she wtV do the 
world a ser^.'ice. 

On the evenino of Seotemrer 7th. Mr. Felt cave his 

eotare on "The Lost Canon of Frorortion of the 

lLiri"p; -tns." Ke wa5 a remarkaoly clever dran;, 

.tnd had oreo-ired ."5 nntnher of ertcnisite drawings to 

illnstrate his therr- that the canon of arohiteotnr.a^ oto- 

jreat arohdtects of Greete, was oreser.ea on toe 
temrle htero ->■— hits of the L.ind of Khe— t. I-^is ccn- 
tentirn was that, bv fjllowin; cert.arn cennite caes one 

•;7on a certain tentole wall, within which the whole 

ii6 Old Diary Leaves 

secret of the geometrical problem of proportion would 
be read ; and that the hieroglyphs outside the inscribed 
figure were but mere blinds to deceive the profane curi- 
osity-seeker ; for, read consecutively with those within 
the geometrical figure, they either made undecipherable 
nonsense or ran into some quite trivial narrative. 

This diagram consists of a circle with a square within 
and without, containing a common triangle, two Egyp- 
tian triangles and a pentagon. He applies it to the 
pictures, statues, doors, hieroglyphs, pyramids, planes, 
tombs and buildings of Ancient Egypt, and shows that 
they agree so perfectly with its proportions that they 
must have been made by its rule. He applies the same 
canon of proportion to the masterpieces of Greek art 
and finds that they were, or might have been, carved 
without models by this rule. It is, in fact, the true 
canon of Nature's architecture. The late Dr. Seth Pan- 
coast, M.D., of Philadelphia, a most erudite Kabbalist, 
being present, categorically questioned Mr. Felt as to 
whether he could practically prove his perfect knowledge 
of the occult powers possessed by the true ancient 
magician ; among others, the evocation of spirits from 
the spatial deep. Mr. Felt replied as categorically that 
he had done and could do that with his chemical circle. 
" He could call into sight hundreds of shadowy forms 
resembling the human, but he had seen no signs of 
intelligence in these apparitions." I take these details 
from a contemporary cutting that I find in its proper 
place in our Scrap-book I., but to which the name of the 

Theosophical Society Proposed 1 1 7 

paper is not attached. It looks as if it had been cut 
from Mr. Wiggin's paper, The Liberal Christian. 

Felt's theory and drawings were so captivating that 
J. W. Bouton, the publisher of symbological books, had 
contracted with him to bring out his work in 1000 pages 
folio, with numberless illustrations, and had advanced a 
large sum for copper plates, graving tools, presses, etc., 
etc. But having to deal with a genius burdened with a 
large family and exasperatingly unpunctual, the thing 
dragged along until he lost all patience, and the final 
result was, I believe, a rupture between them and the 
grand work was never published. 

Mr. Felt told us in his lecture that, while making his 
Egyptological studies, he had discovered that the old 
Egyptian priests were adepts in magical science, had the 
power to evoke and employ the spirits of the elements, 
and had left the formularies on record ; he had deci- 
phered and put them to the test, and had succeeded in 
evoking the elementals. He was willing to aid some 
persons of the right sort to test the system for them- 
selves, and would exhibit the nature-spirits to us all in 
the course of a series of lectures, for which we were to 
pay him. Of course we passed an informal vote of 
hearty thanks for his highly interesting lecture, and an 
animated discussion followed. In the course of this, 
the idea occurred to me that it would be a good thing 
to form a society to pursue and promote such occult 
research, and, after turning it over in my mind, I wrote 
on a scrap of paper the following : 

ii8 Old Diary Leaves 

Would it not be a good thing to form a Society for this 
kind of study ? " 

— and gave it to Mr. Judge, at the moment standing 
between me and H. P. B., sitting opposite, to pass over 
to her. She read it and nodded assent. Thereupon 
I rose and, with some ])refatory remarks, broached 
the subject. It pleased the company and when Mr. 
Felt, replying to a question to that effect, said he would 
be willing to teach us how to evoke and control the 
elementals, it was unanimously agreed that the society 
should be formed. Upon motion of Mr. Judge, I was 
elected Chairman, and upon my motion Mr. Judge was 
elected Secretary of the meeting. The hour being 
late, an adjournment was had to the following evening, 
when formal action should be taken. Those present 
were requested to bring sympathisers who would like to 
join the proposed society. 

As above stated, no official record by the Secretary 
of the attendance at this first meeting survives, but Mrs. 
Britten quotes, in her Nineteenth Century Miracles, 
(p. 296), a report which was published in a New York 
daily and copied into the Spiritual Scientist, and from 
her book I take the following extracts : 

" One movement of great importance has just been 
inaugurated in New York, under the lead of Colonel 
Henry S. Olcott, in the organization of a society, to be 
known as the Theosophical Society. The suggestion 
was entirely unpremeditated, and was made on the even- 
ing of the 7th inst. in the parlors of Madame Blavatsky, 

Theosophical Society Proposed 119 

where a company of seventeen ladies and gentlemen had 
assembled to meet Mr. George Henry Felt, whose dis- 
covery of the geometrical figures of the Egyptian Cab- 
bala may be regarded as among the most surprising feats 
of the human intellect. The company included several 
persons of great learning and some of wide personal in- 
fluence. The Managing Editors of two religious papers ; 
the co-editors of two literary magazines ; an Oxford 
LL.D. ; a venerable Jewish scholar and traveller of 
repute ; an editorial writer of one of the New York 
morning dailies ; the President of the New York Society 
of Spiritualists ; Mr. C. C. Massey, an English visitor 
[barrister-at-law] ; Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten and 
Dr. Britten ; two New York lawyers besides Colonel 
Olcott ; a partner in a Philadelphia publishing house ; a 
well-known physician ; and, most notable of all, Madame 
Blavatsky herself, comprised Mr. Felt's audience. . . . 
During a convenient pause in the conversation, Colonel 
Olcott rose, and after briefly sketching the present con- 
dition of the spiritualistic movement ; the attitude of 
its antagonists, the Materialists ; the irrepressible con- 
flict between science and the religious sectaries ; the 
philosophical character of the ancient theosophies and 
their sufficiency to reconcile all existing antagonism ; 
and the apparently sublime achievement of Mr. Felt, in 
extracting the key to the architecture of Nature from the 
scanty fragments of ancient lore left us by the devasta- 
ting hands of the Moslem and Christian fanatics of the 
early centuries, he proposed to form a nucleus around 

I20 Old Diary Leaves 

which might gather all the enlightened and brave souls 
who are willing to work together for the collection and 
diffusion of knowledge. His plan was to organise a 
society of Occultists and begin at once to collect a 
library ; and to diffuse information concerning thosc 
secret laws of Nature which were so familiar U> the 
Chaldeans and Egyptains, but are totally unknown by 
our modern world of science." 

This being from an outside source and published 
within a few days of the meeting, is even more welcome 
than if official, as it shows conclusively what 1 had in 
mind when proposing the formation of our Society. Il 
was to be a body for the collection and diffusion of 
knowledge ; iov occult research, and the study and dis- 
semination of ancient jjliilosophical and theosophical 
ideas : one of the first steps was to collc( t a library. 
The idea of Universal Brotherhood was not there, 
because the proposal for the Society sprang spontane- 
ously out of the present topic of discussic^n. It was a 
plain, business-like affair, unaccompanied by pheno- 
mena or any unusual incident. ],astly, it was free of 
the least sectarian character and unquestionably anti- 
materialistic. The little grou[» of founders were all of 
F.uropean blood, with no strong natural antagonism as to 
religions, and caste distinctions were to them non-exist- 
ent. The Brotherhood plank in the Society's future plat- 
form was, therefore, not thought of: later on, however, 
when our sphere of influence extended so as to bring 
us into relations with Asiatics and their religions and 

Theosophical Society Proposed 121 

social systems, it became a necessity, and, in fact, the 
corner-stone of our edifice. The Thesophical Society 
\vas an evolution, not — on the visible plane, — a planned 

I have an official report of the meeting of September 
Sth, signed by myself, as Chairman, and W. Q. Judge, 
as Secretary, vrhich I will quote from our Minute Book : 

" In consequence of a proposal of Col. Henry S. Ol- 
cott, that a Society be formed for the study and eluci- 
dation of Occultism, the Cabbala, etc., the ladies and 
gentlemen then and there present, resolved themselves 
into a meeting, and, upon motion of Mr. William Q. 
Judge, it ^vas 

" Resolved, That Col. H. S. Olcott take the chair. 
Upon motion it was also 

" Resolve J, That Mr. W. Q. Judge act as Secretary. The 
chair then called for the names of the persons present, 
who would agree to found and belong to a Society such 
as had been mentioned. The following persons handed 
their names to the Secretary : 

" Col. Olcott, Mme. H. P. Blavatsky, Chas. Sotheran, 
Dr. Chas. E. Simmons, H. D. Monachesi, C. C. Massey, 
of London, W. L. Alden, G. H. Felt, D. E. de Lara, 
Dr. W. Britten, Mrs. E. H. Britten, Henry J. Xewton, 
John Storer Cobb, J. Hyslop, W. Q. Judge, H. \l. Ste- 
vens (all present save one). 

" Upon motion of Herbert D. Monachesi. it was 

122 Old Diary Leaves 

" Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed by 
the chair to draft a constitution and by-laws, and to 
report the same at the next meeting. Upon motion, it 

" Resolved, That the chair be added to the Committee. 

" The chair then appointed Messrs. H. J. Newton, 
H. M. Stevens, and C. Sotheran to be such Committee. 

" Upon motion, it was 

" Resolved, That we now adjourn until Monday, Sep- 
tember 13th, at the same place, at 8 p.m." 

The Society, then, had sixteen formers — to use the 
most apposite term — ^nut founders ; for the stable found- 
ing was a result of hard work and self-sacrifice, of years, 
and during a part of that time H. P. B. and I worked 
quite alone in the trenches, laying the strong foundation. 
Our colleagues either went out entirely, or became list- 
less, or were prevented by force of circumstances from 
devoting their time and efforts to the work. But I must 
not anticipate. 

When tliis portion of my narrative appeared in the 
Theosopliist (November, 1892), sketches were given of 
several of the officers of the Society, to wliich the inter- 
ested reader is referred ; the sujjerabunihmre of mate- 
rial for the present volume compelling me to ( ondense 
so far as practicable. I shall, however, preserve my 
note on Mr. Alden for the sake of the story of one of 
his occult experiences. 

Theosophical Society Proposed 123 

Mr. W. L. Alden, now so well known in London liter- 
ary circles, was then an editorial writer on the JV. 
Y. Times, of great repute for his caustic and humor- 
istic criticisms upon current topics. I met him in Paris 
recently, after many years of separation, and learnt 
that he had been holding an important consular appoint- 
ment under the American Government. He had an 
amusing adventure in New York, I recollect, at about 
the beginning of our acquaintance. He was then an 
editorial contributor to the N. Y. Daily Graphic, and I 
was writing for the paper my Chittenden letters. A host 
of eccentric people were attracted to the editorial rooms 
to ask idle questions, and they bored the editor, Mr. 
Croly, so much that at last he published a cartoon, rep- 
resenting himself standing at bay, with a revolver and 
huge pair of shears, to defend himself against an irrup- 
tion of, " long-haired men and crop-haired women " Spir- 
itualists. But one morning there came an aged man in 
Eastern garb, who carried a strange-looking, evidently 
very old book under his arm. Saluting the editorial 
staff with grave courtesy, he began talking about my let- 
ters, and about Western and Eastern Spiritualism. All 
left their writing-tables and clustered about him. When 
he spoke of Magic he turned quietly towards Alden, 
whose occult tastes nobody had until then suspected, 
and said : " Do you believe there is truth in Magic, 
Sir ? " Taken aback, Alden replied : " Well, I have 
read Zanoiii and think there may be something in it." 
By request, the stranger showed his queer book to the 

124 Old Diary Leaves 

editors. It proved to be a treatise upon Magic, written 
in Arabic or some other Eastern tongue, with numerous 
illustrations interspersed with the text. All were very 
much interested, Alden especially, who, at parting, 
asked the old gentleman if he might have some further 
talk with him. The latter smilingly assented, and gave 
him an address at which to call. AVhen Alden went 
there, however, // proved to be a Rotnan Catholic image 
and book-shop ; my friend found himself tricked, and 
ever after, for montKs, fruitlessly kept a sharp eye upon 
the people he met, in the hope that he might once more 
see the mysterious Asiatic. I was told by Mr. Croly 
that the man never revisited the Graphic office ; it was 
as if the earth had swallowed him. This unexpected 
appearance and sudden disappearance of mysterious 
people who bring rare books to the right man, or who 
impart useful hints that put him on the right path 
through the swamp of difficulties through which he is 
bravely floundering towards the truth, is not an uncom- 
mon experience. Many a case of the kind has been 
recorded in religious history. Sometimes the visit is 
made during the waking hours, sometimes in visions of 
the night. The revelations sometimes come in " flashes " 
— flashes of the buddhi in upon the mdnas — begetting 
great discoveries in science ; as the idea of the spectro- 
scope flashed in upon the mind of Fraunhofer, that of 
the nature of lightning upon Franklin's, that of the tele- 
phone upon that of Edison, and that of ten thousand 
other great facts or laws upon other minds open to sug- 

Thec;orh-=: S 




: wv: 

::d : 

'■; ce^ 

r r*— 



- :: ;^T - 


r^ -^ 

'—'■ '■- 


-f, T; 



-— ^^^ 

chi^re i: ; 

ic oz 

hii J 

i:f :ii 

_lz^»''r, - 11:^1 I. 



?rf :: 




:; a 


uftaH ;tti: 



-e -.— 


r, _■ 

: li :: 

le -jn 


^'5 niiirm; 

if. ::i; 

r. — i. -_ 



= 5^: 



_5 i5 :: 

h— nrh 

r f^j 


-1 ,: 

•:k. : 

r -^j 

:i "«": 

lin ^1- 

-rm—i- J.; 


-15 - 

lf552 r 

e ;j: 

:i".; ' 

re Z; 


rd, be ■ 


:e_i-; eve- • :rf — jr :» c~e~ c:5 i~r~::cm ir^rm 
:; cib. I iT-Tik of 'hzz which I k-aTs-. 



AT the adjourned meeting, on the evening of Sep- 
tember i8th, 1875, Mr. Felt continued from the 
previous meeting, September 8th, the interesting de- 
scription of his discoveries, which he illustrated by a 
number of colored diagrams. Some persons present 
thought they saw light quivering over the geometrical 
figures, but I incline to the belief that this was due to 
auto-suggestion, in part, and partly to what Felt said 
about their magical properties.* Certainly, I saw noth- 

* The following important draft of a letter signed by Mr. Felt was 
found by me a short time after this chapter was written. I cannot re- 
member whether the letter was sent for publication or not, but incline 
to the latter opinion. The importance of the document lies in the 
fact that in it, Mr. Felt unreservedly affirms the existence of elemen- 
tal spirits, his acquired control over them, their effect upon animals 
and their relations with humanity. I think the statements as to the 
influence of the Egyptian geometrical drawings upon Mr. Felt's hear- 
ers exaggerated. The would-be teachers who did not come to learn, 
as Mr. Felt describes them, were the Spiritualist members whose 
orthodoxy vjfas unshakable. 

New York, June 19, 1878. 
To THE EDrroR of the " London Spiritualist." 

My attention has but just now been called to certain articles, pub- 
lished in your city, and one of them in your paper, which reflect upon 


Formation of the Theosophical Society 127 

ing of an occult nature nor did the others present, save 
a very inconsiderable minority. The lecture finished, 
the order of the day was taken up ; I acting as Chair- 
statements made by friends of mine, respecting the " Theosophical 
Society " and myself. One or more of the writers question whether 
such a person as myself actually exists, oris but " the creation of the 
brains of Mme. Blavatsky and others." Having very little in com- 
mon with the public which supports your paper, I seldom see it, and 
would perhaps never have known of these statements, if they had 
not been pointed out to me. I am engaged in mathematical pursuits, 
and take little or no interest in anything that cannot be exactly dem- 
onstrated, for which reason Spiritualists and myself have very few 
bonds of sympathy. I have so little faith in their so-called manifes- 
tations that I have long since given up trying to keep track of them. 

The Theosophical Society was started under the mistaken impres- 
sion that a fraternity of that kind could be run on the modern mutual 
admiration plan for the benefit of the newspapers, but very soon 
everything was in confusion. There were no degrees of member- 
ship nor grades, but all were equal. Most members apparently came 
to teach, rather than to learn, and their views were thoroughly 
ventilated on the street corners. The propriety of making different 
degrees was at once apparent to the real Theosophists, and the abso- 
lute necessity of forming the Society into a secret body. This reor- 
ganization into a secret society, embracing different degrees, having 
been accomplished, all statements of what has transpired since the 
members were so bound in secrecy, are of course to be viewed with 
suspicion, as, even if such statements were true, things may have been 
■ lone in the presence of the illuminali, of which many ex-members 
and novitiates had no knowledge. Of my own acts in and out of 
the society, before this bond of secrecy, I am at liberty to speak, but 
of my doings or the doing of others since that time, I have no right 
to give evidence. Mr. Olcott's statement about my experiments with 
elemental or elementary spirits, in his inaugural address, was made 
without consultation with me or my consent, and was not known to 
me until too long after its appearance for me to protest. Although 
substantially true, I looked upon it as premature, and as something 
that should have been kept within the knowledge of the Society. 

That these so-called elementals or intermediates, or elementary or 

I 28 Old Diary Leaves 

man, and Mr. C. Sotheran as Secretary. The Minute 
Book says : 

" The Committeu on Preamble and By-laws r(;|if)rl(fl 

original spirits were creatures that actually existerl, I was convinicl 
through my investigations in Egyptian archajology. While working 
at drawings of several Egyptian Zodiacs, in the enrleavour to arrive 
at their mathematical correspondences, I had notioed that very curi- 
ous and unaccountable effects were sometimes produced. My family 
observed that at certain times a pet terrier dog and a Maltese cat, 
which had been brought up together and were in the habit of fre- 
quenting my study and sleeping on the font of my lied, were acting 
very strangely, and at last called my attention to it. I then noticed 
that when I commenced certain investigations the cat would first ap- 
pear to be uneasy and the dog for a short time would try to fjuict 
him, but shortly the dog would also seem to be in dread of something 
happening. It was as though the ])er(je|>lions of the cat were more 
acute, and they would both then insist on being let nut of the room, 
trying to get out themselves, by running against tlie glass windows. 
Heing released they would stop onlside and mew and bark as though 
calling to me to come out. This lichaviour was rc;|)eriled until I was 
forced to the conclusion at last that they were susceptible to influences 
not perceptible to me. 

I supposed at first that the hideous representations on the Zcjiliacs, 
etc. , were " vain imaginations of a distempered brain," but after- 
wards thought that they were conventional re|iresenlations of natnrjil 
objects. After studying these effects on the animals, 1 redefled that 
as the spectrum gives rays, which thougli to our unaided sight in- 
visible, had been declared by emirjent scientists to be capable of sup- 
porting another creation than the one to us, and that llii\ 
creation would probably also be invisible (Ziillner's theory), this 
phenomenon was one of its manifestations. As these invisible rays 
could be made apparent by chemical means, and as invisible chemical 
images could be reproduced, f commenced a series of cxjicriments to 
see if this invisible creation or the influences exerted by it wouM be 
thereby affected. I then began to understand anrl ajipreciate many 
things in my Egyptian researches that had been incomprehensible be- 
fore. As a result I have become satisfied that these Zodiacal and 
other drawings arc representations of types in this invisible creation 

Formation of the Theosophical Society 129 

progress, and Mr. De Lara read a paper which he had 
been requested to write for the Committee. 

" At the suggestion of the Committee it was, upon 

delineated in a more or less precise manner, and interspersed with 
images of natural objects more or less conventionally drawn. I dis- 
covered that these appearances were intelligences, and that while 
some seemed to be malevolent and dreaded by the animals, others on 
the contrary were not obnoxious to them, but on the contrary they 
seemed to like them and to be satisfied when they were about. 

I was led to believe that they formed a series of creatures in a sys- 
tem of evolution running from inanimate nature through the animal 
kingdom to man, its highest development ; that there were intelli- 
gences capable of being more or less perfectly controlled, as man 
was more or less thoroughly acquainted with them, as he was able to 
impress them as being higher or lower in the scale of creation, or as 
he was more or less in harmony with nature or nature's works. 
Recent researches showing that plants possess senses in greater or less 
perfection, having convinced me that this system can be still further 
extended. Purity of mind and body, I found to be very powerful, 
and smoking and chewing tobacco and other filthy habits, I observed 
to be especially distasteful to them. 

I satisfied myself that the Egyptians had used these appearances is 
their initiations ; in fact, I think I have established this beyond ques- 
tion. My original idea was to introduce into the Masonic fraternity 
a form of initiations such as prevailed among the ancient Egyptians, and 
tried to do so, but finding that only men pure in mind and body 
could control these appearances, I decided that I would have to find 
others than my whisky-soaked and tobacco-sodden countrymen, living 
in an atmosphere of fraud and trickery, to act in that direction. I 
found that when these appearances, or elementals could not be kept 
in perfect control, they grew malicious, and despising men whom 
their cunning taught them must be debased, they became dangerous, 
and capable of inflicting damage and harm. 

With one of the members of the Society, a legal gentleman of a 

mathematical turn of mind, I accomplished the following, after the 

manner of Cornelius Agrippa, who claimed for himself and Trithemus, 

that " at a great distance, it is possible without any doubt to influence 


130 Old Diary Leaves 

" Resolved, That the name of the Society be ' The 
Theosophical Society.' 

" The chair appointed the Rev. Mr. Wiggin and Mr. 
Sotheran a Committee to select suitable meeting rooms ; 

another person spiritually, even when their position and the distance 
is unknown." Ds Occulta Phil. — lib.XW., p. 3. Several times, 
just before meeting me, he observed a bright light ; and at last came 
to connect this light with my coming and questioned me about it. I 
told him to notice the hour and minute at which these lights would 
be seen, and when I met him afterwards I would tell him the exact 
•time. I did this 30 or 40 times before his naturally sceptical mind 
was thoroughly convinced. These lights appeared to him at differ- 
ent times of the day, wherever he happened to be, in New York or 
Brooklyn, and we arranged that, in each case, about two hours from 
that time I should meet at his office. 

These phenomena differ essentially from any mesmeric, magnetic, 
or so-called spiritual manifestations that I am acquainted with, and 
are not referable thereto ; this gentleman has never been influenced 
by me in either of these ways. 

Once he came to my house, in the suburbs of this city, and ex- 
amined some Kabbalistic drawings upon which I was working, with 
one of which he was much impressed. After leaving he saw, in 
bright day-light, in the cars, an appearance of a curious kind of ani- 
mal, of which he then made a sketch from memory. He was so im- 
pressed with the circumstance and the vividness of the apparition, that 
he went at once to one of the illuminati of the Society, and showed 
his drawing. He was informed that though apparently an ideal fig- 
ure, it was really a so-called elemental spirit which was represented 
by the Egyptians as next in the order of progression to a certain 
reptile, which was the figure he had seen at my house, and that it 
was employed by the Egyptians in making their Zodiacs, at initiations, 
etc., etc. He then returned to me, and without comment I showed 
him a drawing of the very figure seen by him, whereupon he told me 
that he had seen it and under what circumstances and produced his 
sketch. He was then convinced that I foresaw that he would see 
this appearance after having been impressed by my Kabbalistic 

Formation of the Theosophical Society 131 

and then several new members were nominated and, 
upon motion, it was 

" Resolved, That these persons be added to the list of 

These phenomena are clearly not referable to any familiar form of 

At one of my lectures before the Theosophical Society, at which all 
degrees of members were present, lights were seen by the illuminati 
passing to and from one of my drawings, although they stood in the 
glare of several gas lights, a dark cloud was observed to settle upon it 
by others, and other phenomena, such as the apparent change of the- 
Zodiacal figures into other forms or elemental representations, were 

Certain members of lower degree were impressed with a feeling of 
dread, as though something awful were about to happen ; most of the 
probationers were rendered uncomfortable or uneasy ; some became 
hypercritical and abusive ; several of the novitiates left the room ; 
and Mme. Blavatsky, who had seen unpleasant effects follow some- 
what similar phenomena iu the East, requested me to turn the draw- 
ings and change the subject. If there had previously been any doubt, 
the absolute necessity of forming the society into degrees was then 
apparent, and I have never since met others than the illuminati of 
the society, with similar manifestations. 

The unfriendly tone of the article above referred to was entirely un- 
called for, and there was no boasting on the part of any of the members 
in their remarks. Being a secret society we could not in any manner 
retaliate until permission to do so was given. Having now received 
permission, I here publicly state that I have lately performed what 
I agreed to do, and, unless the Council forbids, I hereby give per- 
mission to such of the illuminati as have seen it, to come forward, if 
they choose and bear evidence of the fact. 

I do not know if you will think this worth the space it will occupy 
in your columns, but think that it is but just, after keeping an abso- 
lute silence for more than two years, I should now be heard in this 
matter. Modern Spiritualism need not weep with Alexander, for 
there is another world for it to discover and conquer. 

George H. Felt. 

132 Old Diary Leaves 

" After which the meeting adjourned, subject to the call 
of the chair. The report is signed by me as Chairman 
and by Dr. John Storer Cobb, for C. Sotheran, Sec- 

The choice of a name for the Society was, of course, 
a question for grave discussion in Committee. Several 
were suggested, among them, if I recollect aright, the 
Egyptological, the Hermetic, the Rosicrucian, etc., but 
none seemed just the thing. At last, in turning over 
the leaves of the Dictionary, one of us came across the 
word " Theosophy,'' whereupon, after discussion, we 
unanimously agreed that that was the best of all ; since 
it both expressed the esoteric truth we wished to reach 
and covered the ground of Felt's methods of occult 
scientific research. Some stupid story has gone about 
that, while the Committee were sitting, a strange Hindu 
walked into the room, threw a sealed packet upon the 
table and walked out again, or vanished, or something 
of the sort ; the packet, when opened, being found to 
contain a complete draft of a Constitution and By-laws 
for the Society, which we at once adopted. This is 
sheer nonsense ; nothing whatever of the sort occurred. 
Several ^milarly absurd yams have been set afloat about 
us from time to time ; some of them very funny, some 
weird, some too childishly improbable to be worth even 
reading, but all misleading. An old journalist myself, I 
cared too little for such canards to take the least notice 
of them. While they create temporary- confusion and 
misconceptions, in the long run they do no harm. 

Formation of the Theosophical Society 133 

As regards the drafting of the original By-laws, we 
took much pains and drew up as good a set as any 
society could desire. The Rules of various corporate 
bodies were examined, but those of the American Geo- 
graphical and Statistical Society and the American 
Institute were thought by us to be as good models as 
any to follow. All preliminaries being settled, we ob- 
tained permission from Mrs. Britten that the next meet- 
ing should be held at her private residence (no hall 
having as yet been taken), and I issued (on post-cards) 
the following notice : 

Zbc Xlbeosopbtcal Society. 

New York, October 13, 1875. 

The Committee on By-Laws having completed its work, 
a meeting of the Theosophical Society will be held at the 
private residence. No. 206 West j8th St., on Saturday, 
October 16, i8y§, at 8 p. m., to organize and elect officers. 
If Mr. Felt should be in town, he will continue his in- 
tensely interesting account of his Egyptological discoveries. 
Under the By-Laws proposed, new members cannot be 
elected until after thirty days' consideration of their applica- 
tion. A full attendance at this preliminary meeting is, 
therefore, desirable. 

The undersigned issues this call in compliance with the 
order adopted by the meeting of September 13th ultimo. 

{Signed) HENRY S. OLCOTT, President, pro. tern. 

134 01<i Diary Leaves 

The copy of the original post-card sent by post by 
Sotheran to H. P. B. I have, framed, at " Gulistan," 
and my own copy is also in my possession. 

Our Minute Book records the following persons as 
present at this meeting in question : 

" Mme. Blavatsky, Mrs. E. H. Britten, Henry S. 
Olcott, Henry J. Newton, Chas. Sotheran, W. Q. Judge, 
J. Hyslop, Dr. Atkinson, Dr. H. Carlos, Dr. Simmons, 
Tudor Horton, Dr. Britten, C. C. Massey, John Storer 
Cobb, W. L. Alden, Edwin S. Ralphs, Herbert D. Mon- 
achesi, and Francisco Agromonte. 

" On behalf of the Committee on Preamble and By- 
Laws, the Preamble was read by the chair, and the By- 
Laws by Mr. Chas. Sotheran." 

Mr. Massey was then introduced by the chair and 
made some remarks ; after which he was obliged to 
hurry away to the steamer on which he was to sail for 

Discussions ensued and various motions were made on 
the adoption of the By-Laws ; the final result being 
that the draft submitted by the Committee was laid on 
the table and order printed. The meeting then ad- 
journed. H. S. Olcott was Chairman and J. S. Cobb 
Secretary of the meeting. 

The next preliminary meeting was held at the same 
place on the 30th October. The Committee on rooms 
having reported, Mott Memorial Hall, 64 Madison 
Avenue (a few doors only from our recently purchased 

Formation of the Theosophical Society 135 

Xe\v\ork Headquarters), was selected as the Society's 
meeting-place. The By-Laws were read, discussed and 
finally adopted, but with the proviso that the Preamble 
should be revised by H. S. Olcott. C. Sotheran and J. S. 
Cobb, and then published as the Preamble of the 

Voting for officers was next proceeded with ; and 
Tudor Horton and Dr. W. H. Atkinson being appointed 
tellers of the Election, the result was announced bv 
Mr. Horton as follows : 

Prisidtnt, Hexry S. Olcot r ; Vue-PresiJc/iis. Dr. S. 
Pancoast and d. H. Felt ; Cornsp.niJfng SaivtJry, 
M.ME. H. P. Blavatskv : JiiwrJing ScirctLi>\^ John- 
Si orkk Cobb: Trc\7sitrcr, Henry J, Xewion ; Z/Anj- 
ri'a/i, Ch.arles Sotheran : CMm:V.\'r.<, Rev. J. H. Wig- 
c.iN. R. B. Wesibrook, LL.D., Mrs. Emma Hardinge 
Britten, C. E. Simmons, M.D., and Herbert D. Mon- 
ACHESi ; Ccu/isil to the Society. William Q. Judge. 

The meeting then adjourned over to the 17th No- 
vember, 1S75, when the perfected Preamble would be 
reported, the President Elect deliver his Inaugural Ad- 
dress, and the Society be thus fully constituted. 

On the evening designated, the Society met in its own 
hired room ; the minutes of the previous meeting were 
read and appro.ved ; the President's Inaugural Address 
was delivered and ordered printed : upon ^[r. Newton's 
motion, thanks were voted to the President : and the 
Society, now constitutionally organised, adjourned over 
to the 15th December. 

136 Old Diary Leaves 

Thus the Theosophical Society, first conceived of on 
the 8th September and constitutionally perfected on the 
17th November, 1875, after a gestatory period of seventy 
days, came into being and started on its marvellous 
career of altruistic endeavour per angusta ad augusta. 
Inadvertently, in our first published document, the 
Preamble and By-Laws of The Theosophical Society, the 
30th October was given as the date of organisation, 
whereas, as seen above, it should properly have been 
November 17, 1875. 

The foregoing narrative of the origin and birth of the 
Society is very prosaic and lacks all the sensational and 
imaginative features which have sometimes been ascribed 
to the event. It has, however, the merit of being his- 
torically exact ; for, as I am writing history and not 
romance, I have stuck to the evidences of our certifi- 
cated records and can prove every point. With an ex- 
aggeration of supposed loyalty which has bred injustice, 
as bigotry invariably does, many persons have been re- 
peating to the echo the incorrect statement that H. P. B., 
and she alone, founded the Theosophical Society ; what 
her colleagues did was less than nothing. The fact is 
that she herself vigorously repudiated the idea when put 
forward by Mr. J. L. O'Sullivan, in 1878. She says — 
answering a caustic critic : 

" With crushing irony he speaks of us as ' our teachers.' 
Now I remember having distinctly stated in a previous 
letter that we [she and I] have not offered ourselves as 
teachers, but, on the contrary, decline any such office — 

Formation of the Theosophical Soc:et\ 137 

wh.jiever may be ;he superlative panegyric of n-y es- 
teemed iTiend, Mr. O'Suiiivan. who not only sees in me 
a 'Buddhist priestess' (I) but, :.;.-^,-ir ,. .j^",-:* ./ 
:. '.; • »j •.,' rf fj.-:, .-r/SjTs rru with rh^ fmnJad^n •;/ .'i.' 
T'^r.v.r »...:,' .S. .TVn J- y iis J^-.:';,-JUsr [Letter of H. P. 
Blavatsky, in the <■;•;. jS:jr oi March ;-, ii-:>.J 

H. P. B. was quite wor.denul enough as she actually 
was without the lu.sorae praise t:-.a: h.vs beer, lavished 
upon her : and the attempt to read into every word and 
action an ooctili value will onlv recoil upon its authors, 
bv the mfiexi'ble general law of action and leaction ob- 
serv able in Nature. Her ce\ otees ignore the fact, that 
the more 1 re\ isionarv power and infallih.e msignt tne\ 
ascribe t."> her. the mere mercilessly will men hold her 
account-i:-e for her e^ er\ action, her mistakes in judg- 
ment, inaccuracies in statement, and other foibles which. 
in an ordim^rx — ;'. <^, anuninsyirad yerson. .ire otten onl\ 
mildly blamed because recognised as rroofsc: numan 
infimiirv". It is a most unfriendlv act to tiy to maie ner 
a beinc aoc\e humanity, without a weakness, syot, or 
blemish, for her written public record, .et her pri- 
vate correspondences, rro\"es the tnmg iinncssir.e. 

Thouih mv Inaugural Address was applauded by my 
audience, and Mr. Xewton. the orthodox f^piritua.i5t, 
■.omed witli Mr. Thomas Freethinker, and the Rev. Mr. 
Westbrook, to get a vote that it be yrinted .-md stereo- 
typed — a coed ircot that they did not think its views 
and tone unreasonable — vet it reads a bit tooiisn after 
seventeen vears of hard exnerience, .A. gccd cea! of its 

138 Old Diary Leaves 

forecast of results has been verified, much of it falsified. 
What we counted on as its sound experimental basis, 
viz.. Felt's demonstration of the existence of the Elemen- 
tal races, proved a complete and mortifying disappoint- 
ment. Whatever he may have done by himself in that 
direction, he showed us nothing, not even the tip end of 
the tail of the tiniest Nature-spirit. He left us to be 
mocked by the Spiritualist and every other class of 
sceptic. He was a man of extraordinary acquirements, 
and had made what seemed a remarkable discovery. 
So probable, indeed, did it appear that — as I have above 
stated — Mr. Bouton, an experienced merchant, risked a 
very heavy sum on the speculation of getting out his 
book. For my part, I believe he had done what he 
claimed, and that, if he had but systematically followed 
up his beginnings, his name would have been among the 
most renowned of our epoch. Having so often seen 
H. P. B. employ the Elementals to do phenomena, 
Signor B. do the same on several occasions, and my 
mysterious strangers show me them in my own rooms, 
what was easier than for me to believe that Felt could 
do likewise ; especially when H. P. B. assured me that 
he could ? So, with the temerity of a born pioneer and 
the zeal of a congenital optimist and enthusiast, I gave 
rein to my imagination and depicted, in my Address, 
what was likely to result if Felt's promise was made 
good. Luckily for me, I put in the " if " ; and it might 
have been better if it had been printed thus — IF. On 
the plea of his pecuniary necessities, he got out of 

Formation of the Theosophical Society 139 

Treasurer Newton yioo to defray the costs of the prom- 
ised experiments, but brought us no Elementals. In 
the Council meeting of March 29, 1876, a letter from 
him was read, in which he stated that " he was prepared 
to fulfil his promise to lecture before the Society upon 
the Kabbalah, and giving an outline of the different 
departments into which he would divide his subject." 

Whereupon, Mr. Monachesi moved a Resolution, 
which was passed, that 

" The Secretary be intrusted to have printed and 
circulated among the Fellows of the Society, either the 
letter of V. P. Felt, or a syllabus which Fellow Felt and 
himself would prepare." [Extract, " Minutes of the 
T. S.," p. 15.] 

The circular was issued, and helped somewhat to 
lessen the feeling of resentment that prevailed against 
Mr. Felt for his breach of promise. He actually de- 
livered his second lecture on the 21st June, but then he 
again failed us, and I find that, in the Council meeting 
on the nth October, on Treasurer Newton's motion, a 
Resolution was adopted, instructing Mr. Judge, the 
Society's Counsel, to demand that he should fulfil his 
legal obligation at an early date. But he never did. 
Finally, he went out of the Society ; and, it having thus 
been proved that nothing was to be expected of him 
a number of persons also vanished from the Society, and 
left us others, who were not mere sensation-seekers, to 
toil on as best we might. 

And it was toil, as all who were at all active in those 

140 Old Diary Leaves 

days, very well recollect. Our object was to learn, ex- 
perimentally, whatever was possible about the constitu- 
tion of man, his intelligence, and his place in nature. 
Especially Mind, active as will, was a great problem 
for us. The Eastern magus uses it, the Western mes- 
merist and psychopath employ it ; one man developes it, 
and becomes a hero, another paralyses it, and becomes 
a spirit medium. To its resistless sway the beings of all 
kingdoms and various planes of matter are obedient, 
and when imagination is simultaneously active, it creates, 
by giving objectivity to just-formed mind-images. So, 
though Felt had defaulted, and we could count on no 
sailing on smooth tides, yet we had still many fields left 
for research, and we explored them a little. The old 
records show that we tested mediums, tried experiments 
in psychometry, thought-reading and mesmerism, and 
wrote and listened to papers. But we made slow pro- 
gress, for, though we all, by tacit consent, put the best 
face upon it, every one of us was secretly discouraged 
by Felt's fiasco, and there seemed no chance of finding a 
substitute : the rain-maker, Signer B., had been driven 
away by H. P. B., after his futile attempt to create a 
breach between her and myself ; my swarthy, elemental- 
summoning visitor did not show his face again ; and 
H. P, B., upon whose help everybody had — as we 
thought — not unreasonably counted, refused to do the 
slightest phenomenon at our meetings. So the member- 
ship dwindled by degrees, until, at the end of a year or 
so, there survived the following : the form of a good 

Formation of the Theosophical Society 141 

organisation, sound and strong in its platform ; a clan- 
gorous notoriety ; a few, more or less indolent, mem- 
bers ; and an indestructible focus of vitality in the 
quenchless enthusiasm of the two friends, the Russian 
woman and American man, who were in deadly earnest ; 
who never for a moment harboured a doubt as to the 
existence of their Masters, the excellence of their dele- 
gated work, or the ultimate complete success that would 
crown it. Judge was a loyal friend and willing helper, 
but he was so very much our junior that we could not 
regard him as an equal third party. He was more like 
the youngest son in a family. Many an evening after 
we had established our residential Headquarters, when 
our visitors had gone and H. P. B. and I stopped in the 
Library-room for a parting-smoke and chat, have we 
laughed to think how few we could count upon to stand 
by us through everything. The fair speeches and smiles 
of the evening's guests would be recalled, and the selfish- 
ness they often meant to mask detected. The one thing 
we felt more and more as time went on was, that we two 
could absolutely depend upon each other for Theosophy, 
though the sky itself should crack ; beyond that, all de- 
pended upon circumstances. We used to speak of our- 
selves as the Theosophical Twins, and sometimes as a 
trinity ; the chandelier hanging overhead making the 
third of the party ! Frequent allusions to both these 
pleasantries occur in our Theosophical correspondence ; 
and on the day when she and I were leaving our dis- 
mantled apartments in New York, to go aboard the 

142 Old Diary Leaves 

steamer that was to take us towards India, the last thing 
we did was to say, with mock seriousness, " Farewell, 
old Chandelier ; silent, light-giving, unchanging friend 
and confidant ! " 

The enemy have sometimes said that when we sailed 
away from America we left no Theosophical Society 
behind us ; and to a certain extent that was true, for, 
owing to several causes, it did nothing to speak of dur- 
ing the next six years. The social nucleus — always the 
most powerful factor in movements of this kind — had 
been broken up ; nobody was able to form a new one ; 
another H. P. B. could not be created : and Mr. Judge, 
the then only potential future leader and organiser, was 
called away to Spanish countries by professional business, 
as above remarked. 

It must be said, in justice to Mr. Judge, General 
Doubleday, and their associates in the original Theo- 
sophical Society, whom we left in charge on leaving for 
India, that the suspended animation was for two or 
three years mainly due to my own fault. There had 
been some talk of converting the Society into a high 
Masonic degree, and the project had been favourably 
viewed by some influential Masons. I shall have to re- 
cur to this subject later on. For the present it suffices 
to say that I was asked to draft an appropriate form of 
ritual, and when we left America this was one of the 
first things I was to do after reaching India. But in- 
stead of the quiet and leisure anticipated, we were in- 
stantly plunged into a confusion of daily work and 

Formation of the Theosophical Society 143 

excitement ; I was forced on the lecturing platform ; 
we made long journeys through India ; the TJieosophist 
was founded, and it was simply impossible to give any 
attention to the ritual ; though I have several letters 
from General Doubleday and Judge complaining that it 
was not sent them, and saying they could do nothing 
without it. Moreover, our wider experience convinced 
us of the impracticability of the plan ; our activity had 
taken a much wider extension, and our work a more 
serious and independent character. So, finally, I de- 
cided not to follow up the scheme. J3ut by this time 
Judge had gone abroad and the others did nothing. 

In a letter dated Xew York, October 17, 1S79, — a year 
after our departure — Mr. Judge writes : " We have 
taken in but few members and decided to wait for the 
ritual before taking in more, as that would make a seri- 
ous change." For us two, however, there had been 
twelve months of heavy work. General Doubleday 
writes to the same effect under date of September i, 1879, 
saying : " With regard to the T. S. in the United States 
we ha\e been in statu quo, waiting for the promised 
ritual." On the 23d of June, 1880, he asks : " Why do 
vou not send us that ritual ? " And Mr. Judge, on 
April 10, I S So, tells me, "Everything here lags. Xo 
ritual yet. Why?" November 7, 1881, Judge being 
absent in South America, his brother, whom he had left 
in charge of T. S. affairs, writes me that nothing is do- 
ing, and that " the Society will not start working until 
W. Q. J., General Doubleday, and I [he] can find time 

144 OIti Diary Leaves 

and means to start it " ; both of which were lacking. 
Finally — as it is useless to follow up the matter further — 
on January 7, 1882, Judge writes : " The Society is 
dormant, doing absolutely nothing. Your explanation 
about the ritual is satisfactory." 

Yet throughout all these years, Mr. Judge's letters to 
H. P. B., myself, and Damodar show that his zeal for 
Theosophy and all mysticism was unquenchable. His 
greatest desire was that a day might come when he 
should be free to devote all his time and energies to the 
work of the Society. But as the clover seed, imbedded 
in the soil twenty feet below the surface, germinates when 
the well-diggers bring it up above ground, so the seed we 
planted in the American mind, between the years r874 
and 1878, fructified in its due time ; and Judge was the 
husbandman predestined to reap our harvest. Thus, 
always. Karma evolves its pioneers, sowers, and reapers. 
The viability of our Society was proximately in us two 
founders, but ultimately in its basic idea and the trans- 
mitters, the August Ones, who taught us and shed into 
our hearts and minds the light of their benevolent good- 
will. As both of us realised this, and as we were both 
permitted to work for it and with them, there was a 
closer bond between us two than any that the common 
social relationships could have forged. It made us put 
up with each other's weaknesses and bear all the grievous 
frictions incident to the collaboration of two such con- 
trasting personalities. As for myself, it made me put 
behind me as things of no value all worldly ties, ambi- 

Formation of the The-^isorihica" Socierv 14.5 

ricns, .'.ad desires. Trj'.v, from :he boT'o-.n of mv hej.—, 
I felt, and feel, :h.>t i: is bener to be .-. doc-r-keeper. .-r 
even something more aeniil than tiai, in tie house of 
tae ■' Lord on High," rh.m :o c^el! in anr siliten pavil- 
ion the seinsh world could give me for the askin;. So 
felt H. P. B., whose tireless er.thv.ii,-.sir. for our work -was 
a never-tailing wellspring of eucouragetnent ;o even" 
one coming in contact with her. Feeling thus, and 
ready, as we were, to make ever^" sacrince for our cause, 
the extinction of the Theosofhical Societv was siinplv 

M.-jny things of interest to Theosophis:ts are recorded 
in the e.irly Society records. At the Council meeting 
of J5nllar^■ i;. 1S76, it was resolved, nron the m.otioa 
of T. S. Cobb. ■■ that Wilham Q. Judge. Counsel to the 
Society, be invited 10 assist in the deliberations of the 
Council, at its meetings." At the same meeting, the 
withdrawal of Mr. Sother.m from the Socier\- was noted 
and Mr. H. J. Xewton appointed to fiU the vacancv ; 
and the Council ordered the Recording Secretary- to 
lav before the Society, at its next regru^ar meeting, the 
following Resolution, as upon the recommendation of 
the Council, for adoption : 

"That in future this Society adopt the principle of 
secrecy in connection with its proceedings and transac- 
tions, .and a Committee be appointed to draw up 
and reoon upon the details necessary to give effect to 
such a chanre. ' 

146 Old Diary Leaves 

So that, after an experience of barely three months — 
I had thought it was much longer — we were obliged in 
self-defence to become a secret body. At the Council 
meeting of March 8, 1876, on motion of H. B. Blavat- 
sky, it was 

" Resolved, That the Society adopt one or more signs 
of recognition, to be used among the Fellows of the 
Society, or for admissions to the meetings." 

A Committee of three, of whom H. P. B. was one, 
was appointed by me to invent and recommend signs. 
The appropriate seal of the Society was partly designed 
after a very mystical one that a friend of H. P. B.'s had 
composed for her, to use on her letter-paper, and it was 
beautifully engraved for us by Mr. Tudor Harton. A 
little later Mr. Judge and I, with the concurrence of 
others, sketched a badge of membership, consisting of a 
serpent coiled about an Egyptian Tau. I had two made, 
for H. P. B. and myself, but we subsequently gave them 
away to friends. Quite recently, this very pretty and 
appropriate symbol has been revived in America. 

But what little secrecy there ever was in the Society — 
as little, or even less than that so carefully guarded by 
the Tyler of a Masonic Lodge — has virtually passed away, 
after its brief period of use in our early days. In 1889, 
it was made the chief feature in the Esoteric Society 
which I chartered for H. P. B., and, I regret to say, has 
caused us much harm with much good. 



THE evolution of the Society up to its perfected or- 
ganisation having been traced, we may now give 
attention to special incidents which occupied the atten- 
tion of its founders and more or less affected its in- 
terests. If the details of earlv T. S. histor\' were known 
to the majority of its members this historical retrospect 
might be left to some less busy person than myself to 
compile. In point of fact, however, no other living per- 
son knows them all so well as I ; no one save H. P. B., 
and I assumed all the responsibilities, took all the hard 
knocks, organised all the successes : so. perforce, I must 
play the historian. If I do not, the truth will never be 
made known. The special incident to be dealt with in 
the present chapter is the story of Baron de Palm's con- 
nection with our Society, his antecedents, death, will, 
and funeral ; his cremation will require a separate chap- 
ter. This is not Theosophy, but I am not writing The- 
osophv : it is histor\ , one of several affairs which were 


148 Old Diary Leaves 

mixed up in our Society's concerns, and which greatly 
occupied the time and thoughts of my colleague and 
myself. These affairs threw u[K)ii me, as President, in 
particular, very grave responsil)ililics. When I say that 
I carried through the T)e Palm funeral obsequies with 
the conviction that it would cost me a professional con- 
nection wortli some ^2,000 a year, my meaning will 
appear. The thing apprehended did happen, because 
I mortally offended the gentleman — a bigoted Christian 
— who controlled the matter in question, and who influ- 
enced its transfer to another friend of his. Of course, 
I should do it over again, and I only mention the cir- 
cumstance to show that it cost soinelhing to Vjc a worker 
with the Masterrs in those early days. 

Joseph Henry Louis (Charles, Baron de Palm, flrand 
C ross Commander of the fjrder of the Holy Sepulchre 
and Knight of various other orders, was bfirn at Augs- 
burg, May ro, 1809, in an ancient baronial family of 
Bavaria. Late in life he emigrated to America, lived a 
number of years in llie Western States, and about De- 
cember, 1875, came to me in New York with an intro- 
ductory letter from the late Col. Bundy, editor of the 
Religio Philosophical yunrnut, commending him to my 
f ourtesy. Finding him a man of engaging manners, 
evidently familiar with the best society, and professing 
much interest in SpirituaJism and a wish to learn some- 
thing about our Oriental theories, I made him welcome, 
and at his request introduced him to H. P. B, The ai - 
quaintance was kept up, the Baron joined our Sof.iet) , 

Baron de Palm 149 

and, a vacancy occurring soon after by the resignation 
of the Rev. J. H. Wiggin, he was elected a Member of 
Council on the 29th March, 1876. As he complained 
of feeble health, and of having no one in New York who 
cared whether he lived or died in the wretched board- 
ing-house where he was put up, I invited him to come 
and occupy a room in my " apartment," looked after 
his comfort, and called in a physician to prescribe for 
him. Symptoms of pneumonia and nephritis showing 
themselves and the medical attendant pronouncing him 
in danger, he got me to send him Mr. Judge, the Soci- 
ety's Standing Counsel, and executed a will devising 
certain parcels of real estate at Chicago to two lady 
friends, making me residuary legatee, and appointing 
Mr. Newton, Treasurer of the T. S., and myself his 
executors, with full powers. Under medical advice and 
at his own earnest request, he was removed to the 
Roosevelt Hospital on Friday evening, May 19th, (1876), 
and died the next morning. The result of an autopsy 
was to show that he had for years been suffering from a 
complication of diseases of the lungs, kidneys, and other 
organs ; a medical certificate that he had died of nephri- 
tis was given and filed, as prescribed by law, in the 
Health Bureau, and the body was conveyed to the re- 
ceiving-vault of the Lutheran Cemetery pending the 
completion of arrangements for interment. 

In religion Baron de Palm was a Voltairean with a 
gloss of Spiritualism. He particularly asked that no 
clergyman or priest should officiate at his funeral, but 

150 Old Diary Leaves 

that I should perform the last offices in a fashion that 
would illustrate the Eastern notions of death and im- 
mortality. The recent agitation of the subject of 
cremation in Great Britain and America, caused by the 
incineration of the body of the first Lady Dilke, the 
scientific experiments of Sir Henry Thompson {vide his 
published essay The Treatment of the Body after Death, 
London, 1874), and the sensational articles and pam- 
phlets of Rev. H. R. Haweis upon the unspeakable 
horrors of the burial-grounds of London, led me to ask 
him how he would wish me to dispose of his remains. 
He asked for my opinion upon the relative superiority 
of the two modes of sepulture, concurred in my prefer- 
ence for cremation, expressed a horror of burial, some 
lady he had once known having been buried alive, and 
bade me do as I found most advisable. A dilettante 
sort of body calling itself the New York Cremation So- 
ciety, had been formed in April, 1874, and I had en- 
rolled myself as a member, and been elected a member 
of the Legal Advice Committee ; but beyond passing 
resolutions and issuing pamphlets the members had 
done nothing to prove the faith that was in them. Here, 
at last, was the chance of having a body to burn, and 
thus inaugurating the very needed reform. I offered it 
to the Society in question and it was accepted. The 
weather being warm for the season, urgent haste was 
called for, and up to the evening before the day ap- 
pointed for the public funeral of the Baron, it was 
understood that after the ceremonies I was to deliver 

Baron de Palm i s i 

over the body to the Society s Agents for ereni.ition. 
Meanwhile H. P. B. and the rest of us bestirred our- 
selves to org.mise .m impressive " P.ig.m funeral" — as 
the press chose to call it — compose a litany, devise a 
ceremonial, write a couple of Orphic hymns for the 
occasion, and get them set to appropriate music. On 
the Saturday evening mentioned above we were rehears- 
ing our programme for the last time when a note was 
brought me from the Secretary- of the X. Y. Cremation 
Society to say that they would have to give up the 
cremation because of the great noise that the papers had 
made about the funeral and their attacks upon the 
Theosophical Society. In other words, these respecta- 
ble moral cowards dared not face the ridicule and ani- 
mosity which had been excited against us innovators. 
The quandaxii' we were in did not last longer than a half 
hour, for I finally offered to take the whole responsibil- 
ity upon myself, and pledged my word that the body 
should be burnt if I had e\ en to do it myself. The 
promise was fulfilled in due time, as the sequel will 

Through the obliging courtesy of the Rev. O. B. 
Frathingham, whose congregation were worshipping in 
the great hall of the Masonic Temple, at the comer of 
Twentv-third Street .ind Sixth Avenue, New York City, 
we were enabled to hold the Baron's obsequies in that 
v.«t apartment. An hour before the appointed time 
the street was crowded bv an eager, e\ en somewhat ob- 
streperous multitude, and a strong body of police, had 

152 Old Diary Leaves 

to be sent for to prevent the doors being forced. We 
had issued two kinds of admission tickets, both of trian- 
gular shape, one a black card printed in silver, for re- 
served seats, the other a drab one printed in black, for 
general admission ; and the police were instructed to 
admit nobody without one or the other kind. But an 
American or British mob is hard to restrain, and there 
was such a rush when the doors were opened that the 
1500 holders of tickets had to find seats as best they 
could. The great hall, which holds 2000 people, was 
crowded in every corner, the very passages and lobbies 
were blocked, and from the buzz of conversation and 
uneasiness prevailing it was easy to see that the multi- 
tude had come to gratify its curiosity, certainly not to 
evince either respect for the dead or sympathy with the 
Theosophical Society. It was just in that uncertain 
mood when the least unexpected and sensational inci- 
dent might transform it into the wild beast that an ex- 
cited crowd becomes at times. Through the whole of 
the previous week the leading papers had been lashing 
public curiosity into a frenzy, and one of the wittiest 
burlesques I ever read, that appeared in the World upon 
our anticipated ceremonial and public procession, set all 
New York laughing. For the benefit of our Theosophi- 
cal grand-children I will quote the following fragment : 
" ' All right,' said the Colonel ; ' go ahead and make 
out your programme, but leave everybody out but the 
members of the society, for the Masons wont have any- 
thing to do with it.' 

Baron de Palm 153 

" Two hours were then spent in making out an order 
of march and a programme of exercises after the pro- 
cession reaches the Temple, and the following is the 
result. The procession will move in the following 
order : 

" Colonel Olcott as high priest, wearing a leopard 
skin and carrying a roll of papyrus (brown card-board). 

" Mr. Cobb as sacred scribe, with style and tablet. 

" Egyptian mummy-case, borne upon ;i sledge drawn 
by four oxen. (Also a slave bearing a pot of lubricating 

" Mme. Blavatsky as chief mourner and also bearer 
of the sistrum. (She will wear a long linen garment ex- 
tending to the feet, and a girdle about the waist.) 

" Colored boy carrying three Abyssinian geese (Phila- 
delphia chickens) to place upon the bier. 

" Vice-President Felt, with the eye of Osiris painted 
on his left breast, and carrying an asp (bought at a toy 
store on Eighth avenue). 

" Dr. Pancoast, singing an ancient Theban dirge : 

" ' Isis and Xepthys, beginning and end ; 
One more -victim to Amenti we send. 
Pay we the fare, and let us not tarry, 
Cross the Styx by the Roosevelt Street ferry.' " 

" Slaves in mourning gowns, carrying the offerings and 
libations, to consist of early potatoes, asparagiis, roast 
beef, French pancakes, bock-beer, and New Jersey cider. 

■' Treasurer Xewton, as chief of the musicians, play- 
ing the double pipe. 

154 Old Diary Leaves 

" Other musicians performing on eight-stringed harps, 
tom-toms, etc. 

" Boys carrying a large lotus (sun-flower). 

" Librarian Fassit, who will alternate with music by 
repeating the lines beginning : 

" ' Here Horus comes, I see the boat, 
Friends, stay your flowing tears ; 
The soul of man goes through a goat 
In just 3,000 years.' 

" At the Temple the ceremony will be short and sim- 
ple. The oxen will be left standing on the sidewalk, 
with a boy near by to prevent them goring the passers- 
by. Besides the Theurgic hymn, printed above in full, 
the Coptic national anthem will be sung, translated and 
adapted to the occasion as follows : 

" Sitting Cynocephalus, up in a tree, 
I see you, and you see me. 
River full of crocodile, see his long snout ! 
Hoist up the shadoof and pull him right out." 

With this sort of thing going on for days together in 
advance, it may be imagined in what sort of dangerous 
mood was the crowded audience, only a handful of whom 
were members of the T. S. and most of whom were 
positively prejudiced against it. All went peacefully 
enough, however, until an excited Methodist, a relative 
of an F. T. S. who was assisting me in the ceremony, 
rising and wildly gesticulating, shouted " That 's a lie ! " 
just when I had pronounced the words " There is but 
one first cause, uncreated — ." Instantly the audience 
sprang to their feet and some turned towards the dopr. 

Baron de Palm 155 

as people will in such crises, not knowing wherher the 
confused shout may not mean an alarm of fire : some of 
the rougher sort mounted the chairs, and, looking tow- 
ards the stage, seemed ready to take part in fighting or 
skirmishing in case such should break out. It was one 
of those moments when the turn of events depends upon 
the speaker. As it happened, I had once seen the great 
Abolitionist orator. Wendell Philips, by imperturbable 
coolness quell a mob who were hooting and catcalling 
him, and as the memory flashed within me I adopted his 
tactics. Stepping quietly forward, I laid my left hand 
upon the Baron's coffin, faced the audience, stood mo- 
tionless and said nothing. In an instant there was a 
dead silence of expectancy : whereupon, slowlv raising 
my right I said very slowly and solemnlv ; " We 
are in the presence of death ! " and then waited. The 
psychological effect was ver}' interesting and amusing to 
me, who have for so many vears been a student of crowds. 
The excitement was quelled like magic, and then in the 
same voice as before, and without the appearance of ever. 
having been interrupted, I finished t'le sentence of the 
litanv — "'eternal, infinite, unknown." 

The two Orphic hymns that we compiled for the occa- 
sion were sung by a volunteer choir of the New Yorker 
S.isngerbund and the org.wi accompaniment was the music 
of an Italian Mass, 300 years old : " and," — says the 
Svn's report — " as it swelled and then died softly away 
in the half gloom of the crowded but hushed room, with 
the synibolic fire flickering (on the triangular altar) and 

156 Old Diary Leaves 

the ancient knightly decorations flashing on the coffin, 
the effect was very impressive." 

After the singing of the first Orphic hymn, an invoca- 
tion, or mantram, was made to " the Soul of the World, 
whose breath gives and withdraws the form of every- 
thing." " The universe," it went on to say, " is thy 
utterance and revelation. Thou, before whom the light 
of being is a shadow which changes and a vapor that 
passes away ; thou breathest forth, and the endless spaces 
are peopled ; thou drawest breath and all that went forth 
from thee returns again." Good Vedantism this and 
good Theosophy ! The same thought ran throughout 
all the parts of the service — the hymns, invocation, litany, 
and my discourse. In the latter I gave such particulars 
about Baron de Palm as I had got from himself (and 
very misleading they were afterwards proved to be when I 
heard from the family solicitor). I explained the charac- 
ter and objects of the T. S.* and my view of the complete 
inefficacy qf death-bed repentance for the forgiveness of 
sins. I am glad to see upon reading the newspaper re- 
ports after the lapse of many years that I preached the 
doctrine of Karma, pure and simple. There was an out- 

* " This Society," I said, " was neither a religious nor a charitable 
but a scientific body. Its object was to enquire, not to teach, and 
its members comprised men of various creeds and beliefs. ' The- 
ology ' meant the revealed will of God, ' Theosophy ' the direct 
knowledge of ' God. ' The one asked us to believe what some one 
else had seen and heard, the other told us to see and hear for our- 
ourselves. Theosophy taught that by cultivation of his powers a 
man may be inwardly illumined and get thereby a knowledge of bis 
God-like faculties," 

Baron de Palm 157 

burst of applause and hisses when I said that the Society 
" considered the ruffian who stood under the gallows a 
ruffian still though twenty prayers might have been ut- 
tered over him." I immediately commanded silence and 
continued my remarks, — reported thus : 

" He then went on to say that Theosophy could not 
conceive of bad going unpunished or good remaining 
unrewarded. I believe a man to be a responsible being, 
and it was a religion not of professions but of practices. 
It was utterly opposed to sensuousness and taught the 
subordination of the body to the spirit. There, in that 
coffin, lay (the body of) a Theosophist. Should his future 
be pronounced one of unalloyed happiness without re- 
spect to the course of his past life ? No, but as he had 
acted so should he suffer or rejoice. If he had been a 
sensualist, a usurer, or a corrupter, then the divine first 
(and only) cause could not forgive him the least of his 
offences, for that would be to plunge the universe into 
chaos. There must be compensation, equilibrium, 

After the singing of the second Orphic hymn, Mrs. E. 
Hardinge Britten, the Spiritualist orator, addressed the 
audience for about ten minutes, in the capacity of a 
speaking medium, concluding with a strongly emotional 
apostrophe to the deceased Baron, bidding him farewell, 
declaring that he had " passed the golden gates wherein 
{st() sorrow entereth not," and strewing his bier with 
flowers, " as symbols of full-blown life ! " This closed 
the proceedings and the huge audience quietly dispersed. 

rsS Old Diary Leaves 

The body of the deceased was given in charge of Mr. 
Buckhorst, the Society's undertaker, to be lodged in a 
receiving vault until I could arrange for its cremation. 
I was obliged to devise a better method of preserving it 
than the weak process of embalming that had been em- 
ployed at the Hospital, which proved its inefificacy even 
within the fortnight. It gave me much anxiety, and no 
end of enquiry and research was involved, but I solved 
the difficulty at last by packing the cadaver in desiccated 
clay impregnated with the carbolic and other vapors of 
distilled coal tar. Decomposition had actually begun 
when the antiseptic was applied in the first week of June, 
but when we examined the corpse in the following De- 
cember before removal for cremation, it was found com- 
pletely mummified, all liquids absorbed and all decay 
arrested. It could have been kept thus, I am convinced, 
for many years, perhaps for a century, and I recommend 
the process as superior to any other cheap method of 
embalming that has ever come under my notice. 

H. P. B. had no official part in the public celebration 
of the De Palm obsequies, bvit made herself heard all 
the same. She sat with the non-officiating members of 
the Society among the audience, and when the excited 
Methodist interrupted our litany and a policeman was 
getting him in hand to escort him out of doors, she 
stood up and called out, " He 's a bigot, that 's what he 
is ! " and set everybody around her laughing, in which 
she soon heartily joined. The members who took part 
in the ceremony were Messrs. Judge, Cobb, Thomas, 

Baron de Palm 159 

Monachesi, Oliver, and three or four more whose names 
I cannot recall. 

The Council of the T. S., at its meeting of June 14th, 
and the Society, in its session of 21st June (1876), passed 
Resolutions ratifying and confirming all that the officers 
had done in connection with the De Palm autopsy, ob- 
sequies, and enbalming. A Resolution was also adopted 
to the effect that, 

" The President and Treasurer of this Society, who 
are the executors under the last will and testament of 
our late fellow be, and hereby are, authorised and em- 
powered to do in the name of this Society any and all 
further acts, which they may deem necessary to com- 
plete the disposal of the remains of our late fellow, 
according to his expressed wishes and direction.' 

The Baron's funeral being over, the next thing was to 
see what his estate was likely to realise for the Society 
(for although all was left to me individually there was 
an understanding between us that I should be free to 
hand over everything to the T. S). Mr. Newton and I 
obtained probate of the will, and Mr. Judge was in- 
structed to make the necessary inquiries. Our first 
shock came when we opened his trunk at the hospital : 
it contained two of my own shirts, from which the 
stitched name-mark had been picked out. This looked very 
cloudy indeed, a bad beginning towards the supposed 
great bequest. There were also in the trunk a small 
bronze bust of a crying baby, some photographs and 

i6o Old Diary Leaves 

letters of actresses and prima donnas, some unreceipted 
bills, some gilt and enamelled duplicates of his orders 
of nobility, a flat, velvet-lined case containing the cer- 
tificates of his birth, his passports and the several diplo- 
matic and court appointments he had held, the draft of 
a former will, now cancelled, and a meagre lot of cloth- 
ing. Beyond this, nothing ; no money or jewelry, no 
documents, no manuscripts, no books, no evidences of a 
literary taste or habits. I give these details— in which 
Mr. Newton and Mr. Judge and others will corroborate 
me — for an excellent reason, to be presently stated. 

The old will described him as Seignior of the castles 
of Old and New Wartensee, on Lake Constance, and his 
papers showed him to be rtie presumed owner of 20,000 
acres of land in Wisconsin, forty town lots in Chicago, 
and some seven or eight mining properties in Western 
States. Upon the low estimate that the farming land 
was worth $5 per acre, the rumour spread that I had 
inherited at least ;r^2o,ooo, to say nothing of the two 
Swiss castles, the town lots, and the gold and silver 
mining claims. It ran through the whole American 
press, editorials were written upon it, and I received a 
shoal of letters, congratulatory and begging, from known 
and unknown persons in various countries. Mr. Judge 
communicated with the lady legatees, with public offi- 
cials at home and abroad, and with a representative of 
the Baron's family. This took several months, but the 
final result was this : the ladies would not take the Chi- 
cago lots for a gift, the Wisconsin land had been sold 

Baron de Palm i6i 

for taxes years before, the mining shares were good only 
for papering walls, and the Swiss castles proved castles 
in the air ; the whole estate would not yield even enough 
to reimburse Mr. Newton and myself for the moderate 
costs of the probate and funeral ! The Baron was a 
broken-down noble, without means, credit, or expecta- 
tions ; a type of a large class who fly to republican 
America as a last resource when Europe will no longer 
support them. Their good breeding and their titles of 
nobility gain them an entrance into American society, 
sometimes chances of lucrative posts, oftener rich wives. 
I never knew exactly what our friend had been doing in 
the West, but through importunate creditors who turned 
up, I found out that he had at any rate been concerned 
in unprofitable attempts to form industrial companies 
of sorts. 

Neither then nor since have I discovered one grain of 
proof that Baron de Palm had either literary talent, 
erudition, or scholastic tastes. His conversation with 
H. P. B. and myself was mainly upon superficial mat- 
ters, the topics which interest society people. Even in 
Spiritualism he did not seem to have been a deep 
thinker, rather an interested observer of mediums and 
phenomena. He told us much about his experiences 
in diplomatic circles, and ascribed his present strait- 
ened circumstances (as regards the possession of ready 
cash) to his futile attempts, when an attache, to vie with 
rich English diplomats in showy living and fashionable 
indulgences. He read little and wrote nothing ; as I 

1 62 Old Diary Leaves 

had ample opportunity of observing, since he was living 
with me as my guest. 

It would be ]5ainful for me to dwell upon these person- 
alities but for the necessity of my showing the man's 
character, and leaving my readers to judge for them- 
selves whether he was fit to be a teacher or mentor to a 
person like the author of Isis Unveiled and The Secret 
Doctrine. For that is the disputed point. With an in- 
conceivable malignity certain unprincipled foes of hers 
have spread the calumny that her Isis Unveiled is " noth- 
ing but a compilation from the manuscripts of Baron de 
Palm, and without acknowledgment." This will be 
found in a mendacious letter of Dr. Elliott Coues in the 
New York Sun of July 20, 1890, which the Editor of 
that influential paper more recently, in the most honor- 
able spirit of justice, expressed regret for having pub- 
lished and declared unsupported by evidence. The 
falsehood has been circulated, as I am informed, by 
Mrs. Emma Hardinge Britten, by a learned calumniator 
in The Carrier Dove, and by other hostile newspaper 
writers : it has, moreover, been given a certain perma- 
nency of publication by an expelled French F. T. S., one 
Dr. G. Encausse (known by the pseudonym of Fapus) 
in his work Traits Methodique de Science Occulte, which 
was reviewed in the Theosophist for August, 1892. 

To those who knew H. P. B.'s mode of life while writ- 
ing her book, who were acquainted with Baron de Palm 
at the West and in New York, and who were associated 
with him during his brief connection with the T. S., the 
above candid and easily proven details about his person- 

Baron de Palm 163 

ality, habits, and acquirements will suffice. For others, 
I reluctantly append the scathing letter which Herr Con- 
sul Obermayer, of Augsburg, Bavaria, sent Mr. Judge in 
response to his official and professional enquiry as to M. 
de Palm's supposed European properties, and which has 
been translated for this publication from the original in 
my possession. From its date, the reader will see that 
we did not receive it, and consequently did not know the 
truth about the Baron's European antecedents, until a 
full year after his death, and five months after the world- 
famous cremation of his remains : 

" Consulate of the Argentine Republic, 

Augsburg, May 16, 1877. 
No. 1 130. 
To William Q. Judge, 

Attorney and Counsellor at Law, 

71 Broadway, New York. 
" From your letter of the 7th ult., I gather that Baron 
Josef Heinrich Ludwig von Palm died in New York in 
the month of May, 1876. 

" The undersigned. Consul Max Obermayer (late 
United States Consul at Augsburg from 1866 to 1873), 
happens by chance to be in a position to give you the 
information desired regarding the deceased in a thor- 
oughly exhaustive manner, and is very willing to do so. 

" Baron von Palm was in his youth an officer in the 
Bavarian army, but was forced on account of his many 
shady transactions and debts to leave the service. He 
then betook himself to other parts of Germany, but 
could not remain long anywhere, because his great friv- 

164 Old Diary Leaves 

olity, his love of good living and his debaucheries con- 
stantly led him to incur fresh debts and involve himself 
in shady transactions ; so that he was even condemned 
by the courts and sent to jail. 

" After it became impossible for him to remain longer 
in Germany, he went to Switzerland to enter on a new 
course of swindling, and he actually succeeded, by false 
promises and misrepresentations, in persuading the owner 
of Schloss (Castle) ' Wartensee' to sell him that prop- 
erty, which he forthwith occupied. His stay there, 
however, was short ; not only was he unable to raise the 
purchase money, but he could not even pay the taxes, 
and in consequence the property was sold for the account 
of the creditors and Palm fled to America. 

" Whether or not he supported himself in America by 
frauds is not known here. 

" Of property in Europe he possesses not one cent's 
worth ; all that may be found among his effects to that 
purport is a pure swindle. 

" The only property on which he had any claim what- 
ever, before he went to America, was a share in the 
Knebelisher inheritance in Trieste. When he left he had 
already taken much trouble to obtain immediate pay- 
ment of this amount, but in vain. 

" Towards the end of the year 1869, Palm addressed 
himself to the undersigned in his then capacity of United 
States Consul, with the request to arrange for the pay- 
ment to him of his share in the Knebelisher estate men- 
tioned above. 

Baron de Palm 165 

" This request was at once complied with, and, as ap- 
pears from the enclosed copy of his receipt, the sum of 
1,068 Thalers 4/6 = $3247.53 was placed at Palm's dis- 
posal by a consular letter of Jan. 21, 1870, and he availed 
himself thereof through the banking house of Green- 
baum Bros. & Co., as appears from his letter to the con- 
sulate of Feb. 14, 1870. 

" I can only repeat that Palm possessed in Europe 
neither a single dollar in money, nor a single foot of 
ground, and that everything which may be found among 
his papers to the contrary is based solely upon fraudu- 
lent representation. 

" Palm's only known relatives are the two Baronesses 

Von T domiciled in Augsburg, both families in every 

way most respectable, and to whom Palm in the last year 
of his residence in Europe caused much scandal and 

" The above gives all that is to be known about the 
deceased Palm in the most exhaustive manner, and 
probably more even than you may have expected. 

(Signed) Max Obermayer. 

Consul Argentine Republic." 

My compliments to M. Papus, Mrs. Britten and her 
party.'' Palmam qui meruit, ferat ! 


BARON DE PALM'S cremation is the theme of the 
present chapter. I have related above the cir- 
cumstances which led to my taking it upon myself and, 
since it is historically important from having been the 
first public cremation in the United States and the first 
where a crematorium was employed, the details should 
be interesting. 

The cremation took place December 6, 1876, at the 
small inland town of Washington, Washington County, 
Pennsylvania, more than six months after the body had 
been packed in carbolised dried clay at New York. It 
is very easy now to cremate a body, either in America 
or England, for efficient crematories are available and 
cremation societies exist, but then it was quite another 
thing. When I pledged myself to dispose of the Baron's 
remains as he wished, there were no facilities, no prece- 
dents in my country to follow, unless I wished to adopt 

the Eastern method of open-air burning, which had 

1 60 

The First Cremation in America. 167 

been once employed, and which, in the then state of 
public prejudice and the probable refusal of the Sanitary- 
Board to issue a permit, would have been very difficult, 
not to say dangerous. My only practicable policy was 
to wait until the chance offered itself. In the year 1816, 
a Mr. Henry Laurens, a wealthy gentleman of South 
Carolina, ordered his executors to burn his corpse and 
compelled his family to acquiesce by the testamentary 
proviso that they should not inherit his estate unless his 
wishes were strictly carried out. Accordingly, his body 
was burnt on his own plantation in the Eastern fashion, 
on a funeral pyre and in the open air ; his family and 
near relations being present. One other case of the 
kind is recorded, that of a Mr. Berry, the pyre being 
used in this instance also, if my memory serves me. 
But there had been no case of the disposal of human 
remains in a retort or crematorium constructed for the 
purpose, and so, as above said, I had no choice but to 
wait patiently the turn of events. I was not kept long 
in suspense, for one morning in July or August it was 
announced in the papers that Dr. F. Julius Le Moyne, 
an eccentric but very philanthropic physician of Western 
Pennsylvania, had begun erecting a crematorium for the 
burning of his own body. I immediately opened cor- 
respondence with him, with the result that (Letter of 
August 16, 1876) he consented that if he should survive 
the completion of his building, the Baron's corpse should 
be the first one disposed of. At the time of the funeral 
the possibility of there being a subsequent cremation 

1 68 Old Diary Leaves 

was not publicly announced but only whispered about ; 
now, however, it was openly declared, my purpose being 
to give the authorities fair warning, so that if any legal 
obstacle existed it might be brought to view. Mr. F. C. 
Bowman, Counsellor at Law (Barrister), and I were 
elected a legal Advisory Committee of the original N. Y. 
Cremation Society, to carefully examine the statutes 
and report whether or not a person had the right of 
choosing the way in which to dispose of his body. We 
found nothing to indicate the contrary ; and, in fact, 
common sense itself would show that if a man has abso- 
lute ownership of anything belonging to him it must 
be of his physical body, and that he is free to say how 
it shall be disposed of after his death, provided that he 
chooses no method imperilling the rights or welfare of 
others. Under my private agreement with the N. Y. 
Cremation Society, and hence long before Dr. Le Moyne's 
crematorium was ready, we made formal application to 
the Brooklyn Board of Health for a permit of removal 
for cremation, and the Board took counsel's opinion.* 
It agreed with Mr. Bowman's and mine, and an ap- 
* Following is the text of the note in question : 

New York City, June 5, 1876. 
Gentlemen : 

The undersigned, Executors under the last Will and Testament of 
Joseph Henry Louis, Baron de Palm, hereby apply for the delivery 
to them of his body, now lying in the receiving vault of the Lutheran 
Cemetery : the said body to be removed to a convenient point beyond 
the city limits and cremated, agreeably to the request of the afore- 
said De Palm. 

(Signed) H. S. Olcott, 
H. J. Newton. 

The First Cremation in America. 169 

plication, couched in officially prescribed terms, being 
made later when the crematorium was finished, the per- 
mit was duly granted. Thus the first important point was 
made, and no legal impediment existing, the advocates 
of cremation had only to meet theological, economic, 
scientific, and sentimental objections. Dr. Le Moyne 
and I agreed upon the plan of arranging for a public 
meeting with addresses from representative men, to take 
place immediately after the cremation, and for an even- 
ing meeting to discuss the merits and demerits of this 
mode of sepulture. We agreed that each public speaker 
should confine himself to a special branch of the sub- 
ject, to avoid repetitions while covering the entire 

Owing to the neutral character of the T. S. upon all 
questions involving different religious opinions, it had 
been decided that my co-executor and I should carry out 
this affair in our personal capacities. It was also decided 
that there should be no further religious ceremonies. 
Both Dr. Le Moyne and I being strong advocates for 
cremation, we were fully convinced that the public inter- 
est demanded the giving of wide publicity to this event 
and the invitation of men of science and officers of 
Boards of Health, to be present and carefully scrutinise 
the process of reduction of the body by fire. " I agree 
with you," writes the good old Doctor, " that the ad- 
dresses are to be confined to the subject of cremation 
without branching out on other topics, however proper 
and right they might be in themselves and in their own 

170 Old Diary Leaves 

place. I have never intended or expected that our pro- 
gramme should include any kind of religious service, 
but should be a strictly scientific and sanitary experiment, 
looking to a reform in the disposition of a body." The 
American press, which had made fun of the T. S. for 
having too much religious ceremony at the Baron's fune- 
ral, now abused us for having none at all at his crema- 
tion. However, we cared nothing for that, the praise and 
the blame of the ignorant being equally valueless. Dr. 
Le Moyne and I wished to settle the following points : 
(a) Whether cremation was a really scientific method of 
sepulture ; {5) Whether it was cheaper than burial ; (<r) 
Whether it offered any repugnant features ; (d) How 
long it would take to incinerate a human body. In pur- 
suance of the policy of bold publicity, Mr. Newton and 
I, as executors, and Dr. Le Moyne, as owner of the 
crematory, addressed the following invitation to Boards 
of Health, individual scientists, selected principals and 
professors of colleges, clergymen and editors : 

New York, November, 1876. 
Dear Sir : Upon the 6th of December, proximo, at 
Washington, Pa., will be cremated the body of the late 

Joseph Henry Louis, Baron de Palm, 

Grand Cross Commander of the Sovereign Order of the 

Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem j Knight of St. jpohn 

of Malta ; Prince of the Roman Empire ; late 

Chamberlain to His Majesty the King of 

Bavaria ; Fellow of the Theosophical 

Society, etc., etc., 

The First Cremation in America. 171 

in compliance with wishes expressed to his executors 
shortly before his decease. This ceremony you are 
respectfully invited, either in person or by proxy, to 

The cremation will be effected in a furnace specially 
designed for the purpose, and erected by F. Julius Le 
Moyne, M.D., as an earnest of his preference for this 
mode of sepulture. 

The occasion being one of interest to Science, in its 
historical, sanitary, and other aspects, the Executors of 
Baron de Palm have consented that it shall have public- 
ity. This invitation is accordingly sent you in the hope 
that you may find it convenient to be represented and, 
in case the general subject of cremation should be dis- 
cussed, take part in the debate. The University of Penn- 
sylvania, the Washington and Jefferson College, the New 
York College of Physicians and Surgeons, other institu- 
tions of learning, and the Health Boards of Boston, 
Philadelphia, Washington (D. C), and other cities, have 
already signified their intention to send representatives. 
It is believed that the occasion will draw together a very 
large number of highly competent and influential scien- 
tific observers. Addresses appropriate to the occasion 
will be delivered. 

Washington is a town in Washington County, in the 
State of Pennsylvania, twenty-five miles West of Pitts- 
burgh, on the Chartiers Valley R. R., and about midway 
between the cities of Pittsburgh and Wheeling. Trains 
leave Pittsburgh and Wheeling for Washington at 9 

17^ Old Diary Leaves 

o'clock A.M., and at 5 o'clock p.m., every day except Sun- 
day. The running time is about two hours. 

The audience room of the Crematory being quite small, 
it is necessary that the number intending to be present 
should be known in advance. You are therefore requested 
to signify your determination by mail or telegraph to 
either of the undersigned at your early convenience. 

Henry S. Olcott, ) Executors under the last Will 
\ and Testament of Baron de 
Henry J. Newton, ) Palm. 

Address, Box 4335, N. Y. City. 

Or, F. Julius Le Moyne, M.D. 

Address, Washington, Washington Co., Pa. 

The acceptances were numerous, the public interest 
being so thoroughly aroused that, as a gentleman (Mr. A. 
C. Simpson of Pittsburgh, Pa.), who had access to the 
exchanges of an influential journal, declares, " there is 
not a journal printed in the United States but has had 
more or less to say, not only about the Baron's burning, 
but also about his theosophical religious views" (see 
Banner of Light, Jan. 6th, 1887). One of the most 
amusing things written about the case was the expression 
used by Mr. Bromley in a N. Y. Tribune editorial, that 
" Baron de Palm had been principally famous as a 

It was a great responsibility to take upon ourselves, 
for, if anything went wrong with Dr. Le Moyne's fur- 
nace,therewould have been a tremendous clamour against 
us for exposing a human body to the chance of irrever- 

The First Cremation in America. 173 

ential scientific maltreatment.* However, the object in 
view being so thoroughly humanitarian, we carried the 
affair through without flinching. To guard as far as 
possible against accident, the good Doctor first tested the 
furnace on a sheep's carcase and, in a letter dated Oc- 
tober 26, 1876, he r.eports to me that it had been " a 
complete success. A carcase weighing 164 lbs. had been 
cremated in six hours and it could have been done in less 
time." He then had made a skeleton crate, or bier, com- 
posed of flat and round half-inch bars, the whole weigh- 
ing about 40 lbs., in which to lay the corpse for putting 
it into the retort ; and asked me to buy, if possible, a 
sheet of asbestos cloth to lay over it as a sort of fire-re- 
sisting shroud. This was not procurable at the time and 
I had to devise a substitute. Upon my arrival at the 
place, one peep into the heated retort showed me that any 
ordinary cerement about the corpse would be instantane- 
ously consumed and the body be uncovered, so I soaked 
a bed-sheet with a saturated solution of alum and ven- 
tured that. It proved to be perfectly efficacious, and, I 
believe, has now come into general use. 

I need not go into many details about the cremation, 
since they can all be found in the file of any American 

* There was one risk to be provided against, viz. , the possibility of 
the corpse being carbonised in the still air of an incandescent clay- 
retort heated up to a temperature of 1500° to 2000°. To obviate 
this, Dr. Le Moyne, against the protest of his contractor, drilled an 
air-hole in the iron door of the retort and fitted to it a revolving flap 
which permitted of the hole being opened or closed at pleasure. In 
the sheep-cremation experiment this proved so thoroughly efficacious 
that the contractor was converted to the Doctor's views. 

I 74 Old Diary Leaves 

journal for the month of December, 1876 : still, con- 
sidering the historical interest which attaches to this first 
scientific cremation in the United States, a condensed 
narrative embodying the main facts had better be given 
by its responsible manager. 

The Le Moyne crematorium is (for it still exists), in a 
small, one-storied brick structure divided into two 
rooms ; the one to the left on entering, a reception- 
room, the other containing the furnace and retort. Ex- 
clusive of the value of the land, it cost Dr. Le Moyne 
about $1700, or say ^340. Everything was very plain, 
repulsively so, one might say : there was no ornamentation 
within or without — just simply a practical corpse-inciner- 
ator, as unaesthetic as a bake-oven. Yet results have shown 
that it is thoroughly practical and can do its intended 
work as well as if its walls had been of sculptured marble, 
its partitions of ornately carved vood, and its doors and 
furnace poems in modelled bronze. Dr. Le Moyne wrote 
me that his aim was to give the poor a method of sepul- 
ture that would be far cheaper than burial, and offer 
more safeguards against those violations of graves and 
those tragedies of premature burial which are unavoid- 
able in the case of the prevailing fashion of sepulture. 
The theft of the corpses of the late Lord Crawford and 
Balcarres, of Scotland, and Mr. A. T. Stewart, of New 
York, not to mention the thousands of body-snatchings 
for dissectors, prove the reality of the former, while the 
alleged cutting up of poor Irving Bishop while entranced 
and the instances where, upon re-opening a coffin, the 

The First Cremation in America. 1 75 

body has been found turned and with the flesh of its 
arms gnawed by the hapless victim in his agony of 
starvation and suffocation, give a fearful weight to the 
last-named suggestion. The pecuniary and sanitary 
ends in view were attained with the Le Moyne furnace, 
for even this first cremation in America cost us only 
about ten dollars, and proved that a body could be dis- 
posed of without unpleasant concomitants. 

Mr. Newton and I reached Washington, Pa., on the 
5th December, 1876, with the Baron's remains enclosed 
in two envelopes — the cofifin and an outer case of wood. 
Dr. Le Moyne and others met us at the station, and the 
corpse was taken in a hearse to the crematorium, where 
it lay until the next morning in charge of an attendant, 
the fireman who stoked the furnace. The fire (of coke) 
had been lighted at 2 a.m. that day and the retort was 
already at a dazzling white heat — " hot enough " the 
stoker said " to melt iron." The mechanical construc- 
tion of the apparatus was simplicity itself. An arched 
retort of fire-clay, 8 ft. long by 3 ft. broad and the 
same in height, for receiving the corpse, was surrounded 
by a fire-flue communicating with a furnace beneath the 
retort ; which had a tall chimney for making a draft 
and carrying off the smoke. An opening from the retort 
into the surrounding hot-air flue allowed the escape into 
it of the gases and other volatile products of cremation, 
where they were effectually consumed. A large iron 
door luted with fire-clay around the frame, was fitted 
into the front of the retort, and the swinging flap, above 

1 76 Old Diary Leaves 

described, not only permitted of the introduction of 
cold air and the making of a slight draught through the 
retort at will, but also served as a peep-hole through 
which glimpses could be had of the progress of the 
cremation from time to time. As the corpse lay upon 
an open iron crate, swathed in its alum-saturated sheet, 
in a fire-clay box which effectually separated it from the 
furnace-fire beneath, it will be seen that there could be 
none of that horror of roasting human flesh and bursting 
entrails which makes one shudder at an open-air pyre- 
burning, while, as all the lighter products of cremation, 
the gaseous and watery components of a body, were 
burnt up in the heat-flue that encircled the white-hot 
retort, there was none of that unpleasant odour that some- 
times sickens one who drives past an Indian burning-ghat. 
The corpse simply dries into nothing save the ashes of its 
skeleton. When the retort was opened, the morning 
after De Palm's cremation, there was nothing left of the 
once tall, stout body save a trail of white powder and 
some fragments of osseous articulations ; the whole 
weighing but some 6 lbs.* 

* More fortunate than most innovators, I have lived to see several 
reforms that I helped in the cradle, become world-wide successes. 
Of these, cremation is one. Public opinion has now, after the lapse 
of seventeen years reached the point where a law-journal dares print 
the following praise of cremation : 

" There is nothing surer than that in the not far distant future the 
cremation of dead bodies will be in universal vogue. It is now ascer- 
tained that earth-worms convey microbes of disease from cemeteries, 
and distribute them at their own sweet will. We have never yet 
been able to comprehend how about thirty thousand putrefying 
bodies in an acre or two of ground can be anything less than an un- 

The First Cremation in America. 177 

Our invitation to scientists and sanitary boards was 
accepted in many cases, and the following gentlemen at- 
tended the cremation : Dr. Otterson, of the Brooklyn 
Board of Health ; Dr. Seinke, President of the Queen's 
County Board of Health ; Dr. Richardson, Editor of the 
(Boston) Medical 'jfournal ; Dr. Folsom, Secretary of 
the Boston B. of H. ; Prof. Parker, of the University of 
Pennsylvania ; three physicians deputed by the Phil- 
adelphia B. of H. ; one who represented Lehigh Univer- 
sity ; Dr. Johnson, of the Wheeling, W. Va. B. of H. ; 
Dr. Asdale, Secretary of the Pittsburgh B. of H. ; a 
number of other medical men attending unofficially ; 
and a swarm of reporters and special correspondents 
representing all the leading American and some foreign 
journals. I know it as a fact that the intention of the 
editors was to have the fullest details telegraphed to 
their papers, the iV. Y Herald, for instance, having or- 
dered its reporter to wire at least three columns ; but a 

mitigated danger to those living within a few miles of their influence. 
Earth is a pretty good deodoriser, but there are limits to its capacity. 
If any one has studied the slow process of animal putrefaction, 
they know how revolting it is, and what a danger arises from the 
noisome gases which escape. Do the advocates of interment imagine 
that the gases from thousands of closely-packed corpses escape toward 
the centre of the earth ? If so, they will have to learn that they 
easily permeate the few feet of earth, and have liberty to roam in the 
sunlight and poison those who happen to cross the path of their 
wanderings. Every malignant disease which curses mankind to-day 
is the admonition of law calling on us to improve our habits and live 
in accordance with reason, and the only hope of our ever being rid of 
epidemics is by the slow but sure process of education. The time 
will come when all putrefactive matter will be rendered harmless by 
the action of heat."— yarv. 

178 Old Diary Leaves 

tragedy occurred which changed their plans : the Brook- 
lyn Theatre caught fire the same evening and some two 
hundred people were burnt alive. Thus, the greater 
cremation weakened the public interest in the lesser one. 
The mummified corpse of the Baron being removed 
from the coffin and laid in the iron crate, enwrapped in 
my alum-soaked sheet, I sprinkled it with aromatic gums 
and showered it with choice roses, primroses, smilax, and 
dwarf palm leaves, and laid sprays of evergreens on the 
breast and about the head.* From the H. Y. Times 
report I quote the following : 

" When all was ready the body was quietly and rever- 
ently slid into the retort. There were no religious ser- 
vices, no addresses, no music, no climax, such as would 
have thrown great solemnity over the occasion. There 
was not one iota of ceremony. Everything was as busi- 
ness-like as possible. At 8.20 o'clock Dr. Le Moyne, 
Col. Olcott, Mr. Newton, and Dr. Asdale quietly took 
their stations on either side of the body, and raising the 
cradle from the catafalque bore it at once to the crema- 
tory retort, and slid it in with its unearthy burden head 

" As the end of the cradle reached the further and 
hottest end of the furnace, the evergreens round the 
head burst into a blaze and were quickly consumed, but 
the flowers and evergreens on the other part of the body 
* Visitors to Adyar Headquarters may see framed and engraved 
pictures of this and other scenes and details of the cremation taken 
from the IV, Y. Daily Graphic. 

The First Cremation in America 1 79 

remained untouched. The flames formed, as it were, a 
crown of glory for the dead man." 

The description is not quite complete, for, as the head 
of the corpse passed into the superheated retort, the 
evergreens that surrounded it took fire and a plume of 
smoke drew out of the door, as if it were a bunch of 
ostrich feathers, such as a lady wears in her hair at a 
drawing-room, or a knight of old bore in the crest of his 
helmet. The iron door of the retort was closed at once 
after the crate had been thrust in, then bolted and 
screwed up tight. At first all was dark inside, owing to 
the steamy vapour from the soaked sheet and the dis- 
engagement of smoke from the incinerating gums and 
plants, but this passed off in a few minutes, and then we 
could see what is well described by the Titnes corres- 
pondent in these words : 

" By this time the retort presented the appearance of 
a radiant solar disk of a very warm rather than brilliant 
color, and though every flower and evergreen was re- 
duced to a red-hot ash condition, they retained their 
individual forms, the pointed branches of the evergreens 
arching over the body. At the same time I could see 
that the winding-sheet still enfolded the corpse, showing 
that the solution of alum had fully answered its purpose. 
This answers one of the avowed objections to cremation 
— the possibility of indecent exposure of the body. Half 
an hour later it was plainly evident that the sheet was 
charred. Around the head the material was blackened 

i8o Old Diary Leaves 

and ragged. This was easily accounted for. It appears 
that in saturating the sheet with the solution <>( alum, 
Col. Olcott began at the feet, and that by the lime he 
reached the head the supply was exhausted. All were, 
however, rejoiced to see that the heat was increasing 


" Just at this time a remarkable muscular action of 
the corpse, almost amounting to a phenomenon, oc- 
1 iirred. The left hand, which had been lying by the 
side of the body, was gradually r:iised, and three of the 
fingers pointed upward. Although a little startling at 
the moment, this action was of course the mere result 
of intense burning heat producing muscular contrac- 
tion. At 9.25 o'cluek Dr. Otterson tested the draught 
in the retort by jjlacing a piece of tissue paper over the 
peephole, some one having suggested that there was not 
a sufficient amount of oxygen in the retort to produce the 
necessary combustion. It was found that the draught 
was ample. At this time the left hand began to fall 
back slriwly intu its normal position, while a luminous 
rose-colored light surrounded the remains, and a slight 
aromatic odor found its way through the vent-hole of 
the furnace. An hour later the body presented the ap- 
pearance of absolute incandescence. It looked red hot. 
This was the result of the extra firing, the heat of the 
furnace now being far more unpleasant than it was be- 
fore, with the mouth of the retort wide 0])en." 

The First Cremation in America 18 1 


" As the retort became hotter the rosy mist I have 
spoken of assumed a golden tinge, and a very curious 
effect was noticed in the feet. The soles of the feet 
were, of course, fully exposed to any one looking 
through the peep-hole. They gradually assumed a cer- 
tain transparency, similar in character to the appearance 
of the hand when the fingers are held between the eye 
and a brilliant light, but very much more luminous. 
At 10.40 o'clock Dr. Le Moyne, Col. Olcott, William 
Harding, and the health officers present entered the 
furnace-room and held a consultation with closed doors. 
On re-appearing they announced that the cremation of 
the body was practically complete. Any one looking 
into the retort at this moment would think it ought to 
have been. 

" The fiery ordeal through which Shadrach, Meshach, 
and Abed-nego passed on account of Nebuchadnezzar's 
golden image must have been a trilling experience com- 
pared with what the body of the Baron de Palm had 
gone through. Some experiments with sheep were made 
by Dr. Le Moyne when tlie furnace was completed, but 
Mr. Dye, the builder of the furnace, sa\'S the body was 
more thoroughly cremated at the end of two hours and 
l\)rl)- minutes than the sheep were in five or six hours. 
About this time I noticed that the body was beginning 
to subside, that, though incandescent to a degree, it was 
ne\ertheless a mere structure of powdery ashes, which 
the lungs of a child might blow away. The red-hot 

1 82 Old Diary Leaves 

filmy shroud still covered the remains, and the twigs of 
evergreens still remained standing, though they had sunk 
with the subsidence of the body. The feet too had 
fallen, and all was rapidly becoming one glowing mass 
of a white light and an intense heat. . . . At 11.12 
o'clock Dr. Folsom, Secretary of the Massachusetts 
Board of Health, made a careful examination, so far as 
possible, of the retort and its contents. His announce- 
ment that ' Incineration is complete beyond all ques- 
tion ' was received with universal gratification. The 
last vestige of the form of a body had disappeared in 
the general mass." 

I have given so much out of the scores of descrip- 
tions of the event that might have been quoted, because 
of the excellence of the narrative and its historical 
value. Another reason is that it shows how cleanly and 
esthetical this mode of sepulture is in contrast with that 
of burial. One feature of cremation must recommend it 
to the friends of those who die in far-distant lands, viz., 
that the bodies can be converted into dust, and thus 
easily, unostentatiously, and unobjectionably be taken 
home and laid in the family vault or in the cemetery, 
alongside the remains of relatives — 

" Those that he loved so long and sees no more, 
not dead, but gone before. " 

On the afternoon of the same day, at the public meet- 
ing at the Town Hall, Dr. King, of Pittsburgh discoursed 
upon the deleterious and poisonous effects of crowded 

The First Cremation in America 183 

graveyards ; Dr. Le Moyne upon the scriptural and 
practical issues of cremation ; President Hays showed 
its unobjectionable character from the Biblical aspect ; 
Mr. Crumrine expounded its legality ; and I contributed 
a historical retrospect of the subject in ancient and 
modern times. 

The furnace fire was, of course, drawn as soon as the 
body was thoroughly incinerated, and the draught-hole 
in the door stopped up, so as to give the retort time to 
cool down gradually as, if exposed to the cold air, it 
would inevitably have cracked. Dr. Asdale and I re- 
moved the ashes on the following morning and placed 
them in a Hindu urn that had been given me in New 
York for the purpose. I took them to town with me and 
kept them until shortly before our departure for India, 
when I scattered them over the waters of New York 
Harbour with an appropriate, yet simple, ceremonial. 

And thus it came about that the Theosophical Society 
not only introduced Hindu philosophical ideas into the 
United States, but also the Hindu mode of sepulture. 
Since that first scientific cremation in America, many 
others, of men, women, and children, have occurred, 
other crematoriums have been built, and cremation so- 
cieties have been originated in my country. British 
prejudice has been so far overcome that Parliament has 
legalised cremation, a society has been chartered, and it 
was in its crematorium at Woking, near London, that 
the body of H. P. B. was burnt, agreeably to her verbal 
and written request. 

184 Old Diary Leaves 

In the abstract it matters not to me whether my " de- 
sire-body " be dropped through the salt sea to its amoeba- 
strewn floor, or left in the snow-locked Himalayan passes, 
or on the hot sand of the desert ; but, if I am to die at 
home and within reach of friends, I hope that, like those 
of the Baron de Palm and H. P. B., it may be reduced 
by fire to harmless dust, and not become a plague or a 
peril to the living after it has served the purpose of my 
present prardbdha karma ! 

?v";ativ; aitkok of --arc mag:^ 

JSV.Al 1. -_-v r--de*--: my yrc:";<s See VIII ) 

--'-■.* J/.;r->, .i-c ::< yrocuc-ioo. It h.:< be<er. 
i'rcve rh,-t the Ixvk w,i< '.,i.:ncb-eo .U:;-,'s: ceiacider.iLv 
with ;'-r :>?r;"i::or; ct :he l'he-:-s^y ~:c-i! Society, :i~d the 
c;rc-LUi*;-.'.r,~?s .irs i .■.::'.? curious, >[r5. ':^::::e~ '.^-is va.r- 
;.,uLirIy >;r,:o.< rv ;r,e-V.. -'i~,c. ;s>:"~r< ;o s..~ rise in 
:r.e tah;'.'« -,:■; puss^iiss ia j. .errer to the _".;'<■?,--■' .'f ZSf/it : 

?» .tmoievi -tad ■»-,-.< I wjtli the cci-c:de~ce ot 
;'.i •-^w,--j- (.u/4 t^iBsX e\vr-r#s;,I in :hr :",". -;c_r.:::,'- cf "he 
rhecscyh:c i-.'cieiv, ,-; ■a-hicli I '^.i^ vrese:.:, w::r. ?,~:"r 
of r'-.r y-,:--c<rj, ;ho-:;*i -o: :he ide.ij ptit :,~~h. ir. my 

:"r;e-c's ■work, felt it to be ;:;v duty to ■^^rite to the 
V"e>;ie;-: -f th,-.: j^?c;etv. er-ol--?; s ^-'vpy of the sthh un- 

y_h--.>hed .thvi7::s;, .i-vi explain :c Wra th-it the 
rublic.i::o" o£ the boch in question .t-Lticiuu^texi, -without 
coticert of iotio- or yer>:-u- u:y..u;utu- je. -artth 
the purt;e> conc-eruec, whatever o" Curultst:^' --re t.~e 
<j.ivi The:s^:tihic S:cietv ni'^ht hereifter e-:-Ive.** 

1 86 Old Diary Leaves 

The coincidence consisted in the fact that the book 
and our Society simultaneously affirmed the dignity of 
ancient Occult Science, the existence of Adepts, the 
reality of, and contrast between, White and Black Magic, 
the existence of the Astral Light, the swarming of Ele- 
mental races in the regions of air, earth, etc., the exist- 
ence of relations between them and ourselves, and the 
practicability of bringing them under subjection by cer- 
tain methods long known and tested. It was, so to say, 
an attack from two sides simultaneously upon the en- 
trenched camp of Western ignorance and prejudice. 

Mrs. Britten affirmed that Art Magic had been 
written by an Adept of her acquaintance, " a life-long 
and highly honoured friend,"* whom she had first met in 
Europe, and for whom she was but acting as " Transla- 
tor " and " Secretary." His name, she said, was Louis, 
and he was a Chevalier. A piquant Prospectus, calcu- 
lated to switch the most jaded curiosity to the buying- 
point, was issued, and the bibliophile's cupidity excited 
by the announcement that the Author would only per- 
mit five hundred copies to be printed, and even then 
should reserve the right of refusing to sell to those whom 
he might find undeserving ! f This right he seems to 

* Nineteenth Century Miracles^ p. 437. 

I " To prevent his recondite work from falling into the hands of 
such heterogeneous readers, as he felt confident would misunder- 
stand or perhaps pervert its aims to evil uses." {Nineteenth Century 
Miracles, p. 437.) And in a letter to myself, of September 20, 1875, 
about her copy of Cornelius Agrippa that I wished to borrow, she calls 
Louis " The Author of the l/ook of books (italics hers), just advertised 
in the Banner " and says, " This man would far sooner burn his 
book and die amidst its ashes than spare it even to a favoured 500," 

Putative Author of Art Magic 187 

have exercised, since, in another published letter to 
" The Slanderers of Art Magic," — whom she calls " lit- 
tle pugs " — she tells us that " some twenty names have 
been struck off by the Author." The fact that some 
persons, more cavilling than well-informed, had hinted 
that her book had been hatched in the Theosophical 
Society, provoked her wrath to such a degree that, with 
a goodly show of capitals and italics, she warns all these 
" whisperers who dare not openly confront us," that she 
and her husband " had laid the case before an eminent 
New York legal gentleman," who had instructed them 
" to say publicly that, free as this country may be to do 
what each one pleases («V), it is not free enough to al- 
low the circulation of injurious libels " — and that they 
" had instructed him to proceed immediately against any 
one who hereafter shall assert, publicly or privately, that 
the work I have undertaken — namely, to become Secre- 
tary to the publication of Art Magic, or Mundane, 
Sub-Mundane and Super-Mundane Spiritualism — has 
anything to do with Col. Olcott, Madame Blavatsky, the 
New York Theosophic Society, or any thing or person 
belonging to either those persons or that Society" (vide 
her letter in Banner of Light, of about December, 1875 ; 
the cutting in our Scrap-Book being undated, I cannot 
be more exact). 

This clattering of pans was kept up so persistently — 
she and her husband actually being all the while execu- 
tive members of the Theosophical Society — that, despite 
the fancy price put upon the book — $5 for a volume of 

1 88 Old Diary Leaves 

467 pages, in pica type heavily leaded, or scarcely as 
much matter as is contained in a yj. 6d. volume of the 
London publishers — her list was soon filled up. I, my- 
self, paid her $10 for two copies, but the one now before 
me is inscribed, in Mrs. Britten's handwriting, " To Ma- 
dame Blavatsky, in token of esteem from the Editor 
[herself] and the Author [?]." The Prospectus stated 
that, after the edition of 500 copies was run off, the 
" plates " were to be destroyed. The imprint shows the 
book to have been " Published by the Author, at New 
York, America," but it was copyrighted by William 
Britten, Mrs. Britten's husband, in the year 1876, in due 
form. The printers were Messrs. Wheat and Cornett, 8 
Spruce St., N. Y. 

I have given the above details for the following rea- 
sons : I. The book marks a literary epoch in American 
literature and thought ; 2. I suspect that good faith was 
not kept with the subscribers, myself included ; since 
the work— for which we paid an extravagant price — was 
printed from type forms, not plates, and Mr. Wheat him- 
self told me that his firm had printed, by Mr. or Mrs. 
Britten's orders, 1500 instead of 500 copies— the truth 
of which assertion his account-books should show. I 
only repeat what her printer told me, and give it for 
what it may be worth ; 3. Because these and other cir- 
cumstances, among others the internal evidence of the 
matter and execution of the work, make me doubt the 
story of the alleged adept authorship. Unquestionably 
there are fine, even brilliant, passages in it, and a deal 

Putative Author of Art Mac^ic iSc 

:,-;: 15 both i-sir^crive and val.13.ble. As a neophyte in 

tii5 branch of lireriture. I w.^5. s.: the time, deeply im- 
pressed with itj and so wrote to Mrs. Britten ; but the 

ezec: of these upon w.15 Aftemaxcs marred by niv 
ciscoven- of the imacincshedjed use of test and illus- 
tritirus from Baireti, Pie::; de Abano, Jeuniiiirs, Lav- 
arc, auc even t see plates facing pp. 193 and ;io) from 
F'j^.i L<;sli;'s I."ustrjr;j ^'iiisrjr;'-'' ; also bv the ua- 
spiniua^ persozir.catiru of God, "the eternal, nncreared, 
self-esisteut. and inhnite realm of spirit" (p. 31), as a 
i-'-'i^. tnat 15 to say. a limited sphere or central sun re- 
lated to the universe as our sun is to cur solar svstem ; 
by mucn bad spelling and grammar : by such mistakes 
as tne ma.-cmg or "" Cnnsnna and Buddha Sakia ' heroes 
of an epis-Tce identical ^h:h that told of Jesus, :£-.. a 

■* Ti:e r-: r-v-re"r^e~er of ^i 'c-s^titSJ jnS C-s^ir's '^.^.^.7/*-. a New 
V:rk -r^n:!! :: the d^y. in z:::cinr :ie i-pej.ri3ce of Arr 
Tifjfii- rses Terr seTere liiLjiSuje ia r^-iri to the rer-:ei Artier, 

2'^r^. Br::ten. Tie b-?-rk. ie 5.2V5. ■• is siz^tIt 1 rei.L=ii of borks ar- 
re5c=rrlr :: aar 5: -:.;-; c: even '•" ::?£ nieir«. atL-i jwhicli"' car; be 
rerlily frind in ~.'~ :t?: ar.v rr-rk-sirre. :r on the sielves of a^vTzr- 
ur nrrarr. Enre:r:5jer'i Histc^ '-/'.Ifjp.-. I-i join's Suf^T-Kj:^'-^^'. 
5il-e— e'i Pki^Jcs.yX; ■■/ J/jp:. Ki-jTa^e Te--irrf5'5 .^f.-s^-ra^-sbwr. 

tte rri_ sonrres of ihii wretched ;:— rilaian, which :; fnH cf bsi 

15 rot £ iitrtrle iziTtrtrt:: statement in the i-rrk wiiti csr.t:?: t-e e:>- 
coverei in already-rrttttec books." Tti< is eiiggcrats-i tenitire, for 

of illtitriti : n= ani matter tr:— ±e a-tktr; c;te-d are raira'tie. tiere 

:5 niBch soint occnl: itctrtre >etttetit:ttt5iy --:. to re^i^'arti the 

IQO Old Diary Leaves 

" flight and concealment in Egypt and their return to 
work miracles," etc. ; * also by the declaration, which con- 
tradicts every canon of Occult Science ever taught in any 
school, that for becoming a Magican, or Adept, the " first 
great pre-requisite is a prophetic or naturally mediumistic 
organisation" (j^ i6o); and that the sitting in" circles," 
mutual mesmerism, the cultivation of intercourse with 
spirits of the dead, and the acceptance of spirit guides 
and controls, are substantial and lawful aids to the devel- 
opment of Adept powers. Whatever Adept may have 
written this book, most assuredly it became in the pro- 

* But I really must quote, for the edification of the High Priest H. 
Sumangala, and other unenlightened Buddhist scholars, the whole 
passage : " The births of these Avatars through the motherhood of 
a pure Virgin, their lives in infancy threatened by a vengeful king, 
their flight and concealment in Egypt, their return to work miracles, 
save, heal and redeem the world, suffer persecution, a violent death, 
a descent into Hell, and a re-appearance as a new-born Saviour, are 
all items of the Sun God's history, which have already been recited, 
etc. etc." (pp. cit., p. 60). Fancy Buddha Gautama concealed in 
Egypt, suffering a violent death, and then descending into Hell ! 
And this Art Magic is claimed to be the work of an Adept, who 
had studied in the East, and been initiated in its mystical lore ! An 
Adept, moreover, who, when cholera was raging in London, "ad- 
journed to an observatory " — in London — where he and "a select 
party — all distinguished for their scientific attainments,'' made " ob- 
servations through an immense telescope, constructed under the di- 
rection of Lord Rosse " (Ghost Land, p. 134, by the same Author); 
which telescope happens to have never been nearer London than its 
site at Birr Castle near Parsons Town, Kings County, Ireland ! The 
fact is that the Author of this book seems to have borrowed his (or 
her) alleged facts — even to the misspelling of the names of Krishna 
and Sakya Muni — from Chapter I. of Kersey Graves's veracious work, 
The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviours, which H. P. B. satirised 
so merrily in his Unveiled. 

Putative Author of Art Magic 191 

cess of " editing " and " translating " a panegyric upon 
mediumship, and upon those phases of it which Mrs. 
Britten's mediumistic history seems to illustrate. One 
has but to compare it with Isis Unveiled, to see the vast 
difference in favour of the latter as a trustworthy elucida- 
tion of the nature, history, and scientific conditions of 
magic and magicans, of both the Right and Left Hand 
paths. To affirm that mediumship and adeptship are 
compatible, and that any Adept would permit himself 
to be guided or commanded by departed spirits, is an 
absurdity only equal to that of saying that the North 
and South Poles are in contact. I remember very well 
pointing this out to Mrs. Britten upon first reading hei 
book, and that her explanation was not at all convin- 
cing. She makes one statement, however, which Spirit- 
ualists often deny, but which is doubtless true, 
nevertheless : 

" It is also a significant fact, and one which should 
commend itself to the attention alike of the physiologist 
and psychologist, that persons afflicted with scrofula and 
glandular enlargements, often seem to supply the pabu- 
lum which enables spirits to produce manifestations of 
physical power. Frail, delicate women — persons, too, 
whose natures are refined, innocent, and pure, but whose 
glandular system has been attacked by the demon of 
scrofula, have frequently been found susceptible of be- 
coming the most remarkable instruments for physical 
demonstrations by spirits." 

The author had seen astounding phenomena exhibited 

ig2 Old Diary Leaves 

by " rugged country girls and stout men of Ireland and 
North Germany," but careful scrutiny would often re- 
veal in the mediums a tendency to epilepsy, chorea, and 
functual derangements of the pelvic viscera. 

" It is a fact, which we may try to mask, or the ac- 
knowledgment of which we [Adepts ? ] may indignantly 
protest against, that the existence of remarkable medium 
powers augurs a want of balance in the system, etc." 

Yet (p. 161), we are told that, "To be an 'Adept' 
was to be able to practise magic, and to do this was 
either to be a natural prophet [or medium, as above de- 
clared], cultured to the strength of a magician, or an 
individual who had acquired this prophetic [medium- 
istic ?] power and magical strength through discipline." 
And this soi-disant Adept, says (p. 228) that if "the 
magic of the Orient combine with the magnetic spon- 
taneity of Western Spiritism, we may have a religion, 
whose foundations laid in science and stretching away 
to the heavens in inspiration, will revolutionise the opin- 
ions of ages and establish on earth the reign of the true 
Spiritual Kingdom." 

But this will suffice to show what manner of Adept is 
the reported Author of Art Magic, and what weight 
should be given to Mrs. Britten's current sarcasms and 
pifflings against H. P. B., her teachings, and the preten- 
sions of the Theosophical Society which she helped us 
found. In the early days, she declared her acquaint- 
anceship with us " a great privilege," her membership 
something to be proud of, and her office in the T. S. 

Putative Author of Art Magic lo; 

"a mark of diitincrion " [Letter on "The Sl.inderers 
of Art Jfij^!\" in 5.';>;y./.?/ S.itn/isf] ; and, ..s late as 
the year iSSi or iSS:?, she calls herself, in a letter intro- 
ducing Professor J. Smyth, of Sydney, lo H. P. B., her 
unchanged friend, for whom she ever feels "the old 
time affection " : yet she has been an>ihing but that of 
later years : and it is her attitude towards Theosophv 
which has created the necessity for my recording these 
several reminiscences, both in the interest of histor\", 
and for the profit of her friends and herself. 

The author, we are told, had had " more than fortv 
years ' o; occult experience (p. i66\ after having 
"learned the truth'" of magical science: so that he 
might reasonably he taken as at least fifty or sixty vears 
of age when Arf Jf.ip'.- was published ; yet. from an 
alleged portrait of him, obligingly sent me by Mrs. 
Britten from Boston to Xew York, in 1S76, for examina- 
tion.* he seems a young man of about twenty-hve. 
Moreover, all those years of profound study ought to 
have made his face embody the acquired masculine 
majesty one finds in the countenance of a true Yogi or 
Mahatma ; whereas in this portrait, of a pretty man 
with mutton-chop whiskers, the face has the vapid weak- 
ness 01 a ■■ sick sensitive." of a fashionable lady-killer. 
or, as many say who have seen it, that of a wax figure 
such as the Parisian barber sets in his shop window to 
d:st lav his wic;s and whiskers upon. One who has ever 

* Her cond;!' . r.5 were :'. j: I ^ i5 to show ii only to those living in 
cur hcuse and then re:jim it to her. 

194 Old Diary Leaves 

been face to face with a real Adept, would be forced by 
this effeminate dawdler's countenance to suspect that 
either Mrs. Britten \^z.A, faiUe de mieux, shown a bogus 
portrait of the real author, or that the book was written 
by no " Chevalier Louis " at all. 

The portrait is far less interesting in itself than in its 
relation to a remarkable phenomenon, which H. P. B. 
did upon the provocation of a French lady, a Spiritual- 
ist, then a guest at our New York Headquarters. Her 
name was Mile. Pauline Liebert, and her place of resi- 
dence at Leavenworth, in Kansas, a distant Western 
State. H. P. B. had known her in former years at Paris, 
where she took the deepest interest in " spirit photog- 
raphy." She believed herself to be under the spiritual 
guardianship of Napoleon Bonaparte, and that she pos- 
sessed the power of conferring upon a photographer the 
mediumistic faculty of taking the portraits of the spirit- 
friends of living sitters ! When she read in the papers 
H. P. B.'s first letters about Dr. Beard and the phenom- 
ena of the Eddy family, she wrote to her and told about 
the wonderful success she had had in Kansas, St. Louis, 
and elsewhere among the photographers, in getting spirit 
portraits. Mr. H. J. Newton, the Treasurer of the T. S., 
was a distinguished and scientific amateur photographer, 
and had fitted up a very excellent experimental gallery 
in his own house. Upon hearing from me about Mile. 
Liebert's pretensions, he asked us to invite her to pay us 
a visit and give him sittings, with a view to testing her 
claims in the interest of science. H. P. B. complied, 

Putative Author of Art Magic 195 

and the eccentric lady came to New York at our ex- 
pense, and was our guest during several months. The 
erudite calumniator of the Carrier Dove, whom I have 
above mentioned in another connection, published 
(C. D., vol. viii., 298) an alleged assertion of Mile. Lie- 
bert to himself, that H. P. B.'s phenomena were tricks 
to delude me along with others, that her pictures were 
bought or prepared in advance and foisted on us as 
instantaneous productions, etc., etc.; in short, a tissue 
of falsehoods. He parades her as an intelligent person, 
but the fact is that she was credulity personified, so far 
as her spiritualistic photographs were concerned. Upon 
her arrival at New York, she began a course of photo- 
graphic sittings at Mr. Newton's house, confidently 
prognosticating that she should enable him to get genu- 
ine spirit portraits. Mr. Newton patiently went on with 
the trial, until, with the fiftieth sitting, and no result, his 
patience gave way and he stopped. Mile. Liebert tried 
to account for her failure by saying that the " magnet- 
ism " of Mr. Newton's private gallery was not congenial 
to the spirits ; notwithstanding the fact that he was the 
foremost Spiritualist of New York City, the president of 
the largest society of the kind. With Mr. Newton's 
obliging help, I then arranged for a fresh series of trials 
in the photographic gallery of Bellevue Hospital, the 
manager of which, Mr. Mason, was a man of scientific 
training, a member of the Photographic Section of the 
American Institute, and anxious to test Mile. Liebert's 
pretensions in a sympathetic spirit. His success was no 

196 Old Diary Leaves 

better than Mr. Newton's, despite seventy-five careful 
trials under the French lady's prescribed precautions 
against failure. All these weeks and months that the 
two series of experiments were going on, Mile. Liebert 
lived with us, and almost every evening she used to 
bring out and lovingly con over a handful of so-called 
spirit photographs that she had collected in divers 
places. The ignominious collapse of her hopes as to 
the test trials in progress seemed to make her dote upon 
what the -poor deluded creature regarded as past suc- 
cesses, and it was an amusing study to watch her face 
while handling her thumb-worn pieces de conviction. 
H. P. B. had naturally but small pity for intellectual 
weaklings, especially little for the stubborn dupes of 
mediumistic trickery, and she often poured out the vials 
of her wrath upon the — as she called her — purblind old 
maid. One cold evening (Dec. i, 1875), after a fresh 
day of failures at Mr. Mason's laboratory. Mile. Liebert 
was, as usual, shuffling over her grimy photographs, 
sighing and arching her eyebrows into a despairing 
expression, when H. P. B. burst out : " Why will you 
persist in this folly ? Can't you see that all those photo- 
graphs in your hand were swindles on you by photogra- 
phers who did them to rob you of your money ? You 
have had every possible chance now to prove your pre- 
tended power, — more than one hundred chances have 
been given you, and you have not been able to do the 
least thing. Where is your pretended guide. Napoleon, 
and the other sweet angels of Summerland ; why don't 

Putative Author of Art Magic 19; 

the)' come and help you ? Pshaw ! it makes me sick 
to see such credulity. Xow see here : I can make a 
■ spirit picture ' whenever I like and — of anybody I like. 
You don't believe it, eh ? Well, I shall prove it on the 
spot ! " She hunted up a piece of card-board, cut it to 
the size of a cabinet photograph, and then asked Mile. 
Liebert whose portrait she wished. " Do you want me 
to make your Napoleon ' " she asked. " Xo," said 
Mile. L., " please make for me the picture of that beau- 
tiful M. Louis." H. P. B. burst into a scornful laugh, 
because, by Mrs. Britten's request, I had returned to 
her through the post the Louis portrait three days pre- 
vious!}', and it being by that time in Boston, 250 miles 
away, the trap set bv the French ladv was but too e\'ident. 
" Ah ! " said H. P. B., " you thought you could catch me, 
but now see ! " She laid the prepared card on the table 
before Mile. Liebert and m}'self, rubbed the palm of 
her hand over it three or four times, turned it over, 
and lo ! on the under side we saw (as we then thought) 
a fac-simile of the Louis portrait. In a cloudv back- 
ground at both sides of the face were grinning ele- 
mental sprites, and above the head a shadow}' hand 
with the index-finger pointing downward. I never saw 
amazement more stronglv depicted on a human face 
than it was upon Mile. Liebert's at that moment. She 
gazed in positive terror at the mysterious card, and 
presentlv burst into tears and hurried out of the room 
with it in her hand, while H. P. B. and I went into fits 
of lau2:hter. .\fter a half hour she returned, gave me 

198 Old Diary Leaves 

the picture, and on retiring for the night I placed it as a 
book-mark in a volume I was reading in my own apart- 
ment. On the back I noted the date and the names of 
the three witnesses. The next morning I found that the 
picture had quite faded out, all save the name " Louis," 
written at the bottom in imitation of the original : the 
writing, a precipitation made simultaneously with the 
portrait and the elves in the background. That was a 
curious fact — that one part of a precipitated picture 
should remain visible, while all the rest had disappeared, 
and I cannot explain it. I locked it up in my drawer, 
and Mr. Judge, dropping in a day or two later, or, perhaps, 
the same evening, I told him the story and showed him 
the defaced card ; whereupon he asked H. P. B. to cause 
the portrait to re-appear and to " fix " it. It needed but 
a moment for to lay the card again face down upon the 
table, cover it with her hand, and reproduce the picture 
as it had been. He took it by her permission, and kept 
it until we met him at Paris in 1884, when — as he had 
fortunately brought it with him — I begged it of him for the 
Adyar Library. From Paris I crossed over to London, 
and, going one evening to dine with my friend Stainton 
Moses, he showed me his collection of mediumistic 
curios, among others, the very original of the Louis picture, 
which I had returned to Mrs. Britten by post from New 
York to Boston in i8y6 ! On the back was written " M. 
A. Oxon, March i, 1877, from the Author of Art Magic, 
and Ghostland." The next day I brought and showed 
Stainton Moses the H. P. B copy, and he kindly gave 



Putative Author of Art Magic 199 

me the original. Thus, after the lapse of eight years, 
both came back to my hand. Upon comparing them, 
we found so many differences as to show conclusively 
that the one was not a duplicate of the other. To begin 
with the faces look in opposite directions, as though the 
one were the enlarged and somewhat deranged reflection 
of the other in a mirror. When I asked H. P. B. the reason 
for this, she said that all things on the objective plane have 
their images reversed in the astral light, and that she 
simply transferred to paper the astral reflection of the 
Louis picture as she saw it : the minuteness of its accuracy 
would depend upon the exactness of her clairvoyant 
perception. Applying this test to these two pictures, 
we find that there are material differences in horizontal 
and vertical measurements throughout, as well as in the 
curl of the hair and beard and the outlines of the dress : 
the " Louis " signatures also vary in all details while 
preserving a general resemblance. When the copy was 
precipitated, the tint was infused into the surface of the 
whole card as a sort of pigmentous blur, just as the 
background still remains, and H. P. B. touched up some 
of the main lines with a lead-pencil ; to the artistic im- 
provement of the picture, but to its detriment as an 
exhibit of occult photography. 

I am fortunately able to cite an account, hitherto un- 
published, by Mrs. Britten herself, of the incidents con- 
nected with the taking of the portrait. It is given in a 
letter to Lady Caithness, Duchesse de Pomar, who copied 
it out at my request : 

200 Old Diary Leaves 

" I now enclose you a faint shadow of our ' archi- 
niagus.' I deeply regret my inability to send you any- 
thing better, for, indeed, his face is wonderfully beautiful. 
He has raven hair, superb eyes, a very fine complexion, 
and the sweetest smile imaginable — you may judge there- 
fore what a poor representation this picture forms of him. 
It only resembles him as he lay fainting in the carriage* 
when we left the photographer's. There was a very 
curious incident about this picture. When the negative 
was finished, I insisted on the photographer making me a 
proof, then and there, in order that I might judge of its 
resemblance ; that proof I took away with us, requesting 
my friend, who is a fine artist, to make me an enlarged 
crayon sketch for myself, — this he agreed to do. I won- 
dered why the photographer did not send me any more 
pictures, and waited for many days for them. I knew it 
only represented my poor sufferer as he then was, not as 
he generally appears, still he entreated me to send it as 
it was for his Madonna — as he calls you — because he had 
made such a great exertion to have it taken, and only 
for you. Still he did not come. The photographer 
might have been prevented from executing the pictures, 
I thought, by bad weather. At last I called on him — 
when, with a strange and singular air of reluctance, he 
acknowledged that almost immediately after we had left, 
the picture on the negative faded entirely out, leav- 
ing only some very faint indications or marks, which 
looked like Cabalistic characters. He was very angry 
'' A fainting adept would indeed Ipe a novelty in the East ! 

Putative Author of Art Magic 201 

about it, complained that these spiritualists were always 
playing tricks when they came for pictures, and he could 
not bear to have anything to do with them. I demanded 
to see the negative which he reluctantly showed me. He 
then, at my request, developed the plate [Note above 
that it had already been developed and printed from — 
H. S. O.], but the figures or signs are so faint that they 
are scarcely perceptible. He added, in a frightened way, 
that he ' did not want the gentleman to come again, for 
he did n't think he was a mortal man anyway.' 

" I was terribly disappointed, but had no resource but 
submission. I had half resolved to have my minia- 
ture copied, when I received from Cuba, where Louis 
went first, the chalk-drawing he has made from the proof. 
He added to it a statement that the proof he took with 
him has most strangely faded out, leaving nothing but a 
faint indication of some Cabalistic signs too faint to 
make out. 

" Is not that very strange ? Determined not to be 
balked, I have had the chalk-drawing photographed, and 
though it is somewhat inferior in softness to the proof, it 
is an equally good resemblance of our invalid. What 
momentous times we are living in ! " 

Momentous, indeed, when Adepts of forty years' ex- 
perience are made to look like a school-girl's hero, and 
photographic negatives are twice developed, each time 
giving a different print ! 



OF the writing of Isis Unveiled, let us see what remi- 
niscences memory can bring out of the dark- 
room where her imperishable negatives are kept. 

If any book could ever have been said to make an 
epoch, this one could. Its effects have been as import- 
ant in one way as those of Darwin's first great work have 
been in another : both were tidal waves in modern 
thought, and each tended to sweep away theological 
crudities and replace the belief in miracle with the belief 
in natural law. And yet nothing could have been more 
commonplace and unostentatious than the beginning of 
Isis. One day in the Summer of 1875. H. P. B. showed 
me some sheets of manuscript which she had written, 
and said : " I wrote this last night ' by order,' but what 
the deuce it is to be I don't know. Perhaps it is for a 
newspajter article, perhaps for a book, perhaps for noth- 
ing : anyhow, I did as I was ordered." And she put it 
away in a drawer, and nothing more was said about it for 

Isis Unveiled 203 

some time. But in the month of September — if my 
memory serves — she went to Syracuse (N. Y.), on a visit 
to her new friends, Professor and Mrs. Corson, of Cor- 
nell University, and the work went on. She wrote me 
that it was to be a book on the history and philosophy 
of the Eastern Schools and their relations with those of 
our own times. She said she was writing about things 
she had never studied and making quotations from books 
she had never read in all her life : that, to test her ac- 
curacy, Prof. Corson had compared her quotations with 
classical works in the University Library, and had found 
her to be right. Upon her return to town, she was not 
very industrious in this affair, but wrote only spasmodi- 
cally, and the same may be said as to the epoch of her 
Philadelphia residence, but a month or two after the 
formation of the Theosophical Society, she and I took 
two suites of rooms at 433 West 34th St., she on the 
first and I on the second floor, and thenceforward the 
writing of Isis went on without break or interruption 
until its completion in the year 1877. In her whole life 
she had not done a tithe of such literary labour, yet I 
never knew even a managing daily journalist who could 
be compared with her for dogged endurance or tireless 
working capacity. From morning till night she would 
be at her desk, and it was seldom that either of us got to 
bed before 2 o'clock a.m. During the daytime I had 
my professional duties to attend to, but always, after an 
early dinner we would settle down together to our big 
writing-table and work, as if for dear life, until bodily 

204 Old Diary Leaves 

fatigue would compel us to stop. What an experience ! 
The education of an ordinary life-time of reading and 
thinking was, for me, crowded and compressed into this 
period of less than two years. I did not merely serve 
her as an amanuensis or a proof-reader, but she made 
me a collaborator ; she caused me to utilise — it almost 
seemed — everything I had ever read or thought, and 
stimulated my brain to think out new problems that she 
put me in respect to occultism and metaphysics, which 
my education had not led me up to, and which I only 
came to grasp as my intuition developed under this for- 
cing process. She worked on no fixed plan, but ideas 
came streaming through her mind like a perennial spring 
which is ever overflowing its brim. Now she would be 
writing upon Brahma, anon upon Babinet's electrical 
" meteor-cat " ; one moment she would be reverentially 
quoting from Porphyrios, the next from a daily news- 
paper or some modern pamphlet that I had just brought 
home ; she would be adoring the perfections of the ideal 
Adept, but diverge for an instant to thwack Professor 
Tyndall or some other pet aversion of hers, with her 
critical cudgel. Higgledy-piggledy it came, in a cease- 
less rivulet, each paragraph complete in itself and capa- 
ble of being excised without harm to its predecessor or 
successor. Even as it stands now, and after all its 
numerous re-castings, an examination of the wondrous 
book will show this to be the case. 

If she had no plan, despite all her knowledge, does 
not that go to prove that the work was not of her own 

Isis Unveiled 205 

conception ; that she was but the channel through 
which this tide of fresh, vital essence was being poured 
into the stagnant pool of modern spiritual thought ? 
As a part of my educational training she would ask me 
to write something about some special subject, perhaps 
suggesting the salient points that should be brought in, 
perhaps just leaving me to do the best I could with my 
own intuitions. When I had finished, if it did not suit 
her, she would usually resort to strong language, and 
call me some of the pet names that are apt to provoke 
the homicidal impulse ; but if I prepared to tear up my 
unlucky compositon, she would snatch it from me and 
lay it by for subsequent use elsewhere, after a bit of 
trimming, and I would try again. Her own manuscript 
was often a sight to behold ; cut and patched, re-cut 
and re-pasted, until if one held a page of it to the light, 
it would be seen to consist of, perhaps, six, or eight, or 
ten slips cut from other pages, pasted together, and the 
text joined by interlined words or sentences. She be- 
came so dexterous in this work that she used often to 
humorously vaunt her skill to friends who might be 
present. Our books of reference sometimes suffered in 
the process, for her pasting was frequently done on their 
open pages, and volumes are not wanting in the Adyar 
Headquarters and London libraries which bear the 
marks to this day. 

From the date of her first appearance in the Daily 
Graphic, in 1874, throughout her American career, she 
was besieged by visitors, and if among them there 

2o6 Old Diary Leaves 

chanced to be any who had some sjiecial knowledge of 
any particular thing cognate to her field of work, she- 
invariably drew him out, and, if possible, got him to 
write down his views or reminiscences for insertion in 
her book. Among examples of this sort are Mr. O'Sulli- 
van's account of a magical sdance in Paris, Mr. Rawson's 
interesting sketch of the secret initiations of the Leba- 
non Druses, Dr. Alexander Wildcr's numerous notes and 
text paragraphs in the Introduction and throughout both 
volumes, and others which add so much to the value 
and interest of the work. I have known a Jewish Rabbi 
pass hours and whole evenings in her comi>any, dis- 
cussing the Kabballa, and have heard him say to her 
that, although he had studied the secret scienre of his 
religion for thirty years, she had taught liim things he 
had not even dreamed of, and thrown a rle/ir light upon 
passages which not even his best tc.iehers had under- 
stood. Whence did she get this knowledge ? That she 
had it, was unmistakable ; whence did she get it ? Not 
from her governesses in Russia ; not from any soiirrc 
known to her family or most intimate friends ; not on 
the steamships or railways she had been haunting in her 
world-rambles since her fifteenth ye.-ir ; not in any col- 
lege or university, for she never matriculated at eilher ; 
not in the huge libraries of the world. 'I'o jiidf^e from 
her conversation and habits before she took up this 
monster literary task, she had not lenrnt it at all, 
whether from one source or another; but when she 
needed it she had it, and in her better moments of in- 

I sis Unveiled 207 

spiration — if the term be admissible— she astonished the 
most erudite by her learning quite as much as she daz- 
zled all present by her eloquence and delighted them b}' 
her wit and humorous raillery. 

One might fancy, upon seeing the numerous quota- 
tions in /sis Unveiled that she had written it in an alcove 
of the British Museum or of the Astor Library in New 
YorL The fact is, however, that our whole working 
library scarcely comprised one hundred books of refer- 
ence. Now and again single volumes would be brought 
her by Mr. Sotheran, Mr. Marble or other friends, and, 
latterly, she borrowed a few of Mr. Bouton. Of some 
books she made great use — for example. King's Gnostics ; 
Jennings' Rosicj-ueians ; Dunlop's Sod and S/inV ITiston 
of Man ; Moor's Hindu Pantheon; Des Mousseaux's 
furious attacks on Magic, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, etc., 
all of which he denounced as the Devil ; Eliphas Levi's 
v.irious works ; JacoUiot's twentv-seven volumes ; Max 
Miiller's, Huxley's, Tyndall's, Herbert Spencer's works, 
and those of many other authors of greater or less re- 
pute : vet not to exceed the hundred, I should say. 
Then what books did she consult, and what library had 
she access to ? Mr. W. H. Burr asked Dr. Wilder in an 
open letter to the Tr-uth-seeker whether the rumour was 
true that he had written Isis for H. P. B. ; to which our 
beloved old friend would truthfully reply that it was a 
false rumour, and that he had done as much for H. P. B. 
as I have above stated, had given her much excellent 
advice, and had, for a consideration, prepared the ven 

2o8 Old Diary Leaves 

copious Index of some fifty pages, from advanced plate- 
proofs sent him for the purpose. That is all. And 
equally baseless is the oft-repeated tale that I wrote the 
book and she touched it up : it was quite the other way 
about. I corrected every page of her manuscript several 
times, and every page of the proofs ; wrote many para- 
graphs for her, often merely embodying her ideas that 
she could not then (some fifteen years before her death 
and anterior to almost her whole career as a writer of 
English literature) frame to her liking in English ; 
helped her to find out quotations, and did other purely 
auxiliary work : the book is hers alone, so far as person- 
alities on this plane of manifestation are concerned, and 
she must take all the praise and the blame that it de- 
serves. She made the epoch with her book, and, in 
making it, made me — her pupil and auxiliary — as fit as 
I may have been found to do Theosophical work during 
these past twenty years. Then, whence did H. P. B. 
draw the materials which compose Isis, and which can- 
not be traced to accessible literary sources of quotation ? 
From the Astral Light, and, by her soul-senses, from her 
Teachers — the "Brothers," "Adepts,"' " Sages,'" " Mas- 
ters," as they have been variously called. How do I 
know it ? By working two years with her on Isis and 
many more years on other literary work. 

To watch her at work was a rare and never-to-be-for- 
gotten experience. We sat at opposite sides of one big 
table usually, and I could see her every movement. 
Her pen would be flying over the page, when she would 

Isis Unveiled 209 

suddenly stop, look out into space with the vacant eye 
of the clairvoyant seer, shorten her vision as though to 
look at something held invisibly in the air before her, 
and begin copying on her paper what she saw. The 
quotation finished, her eyes would resume their natural 
expression, and she would go on writing until again 
stopped by a similar interruption. I remember well two 
instances when I, also, was able to see and even handle 
books from whose astral duplicates she had copied quo- 
tations into her manuscript, and which she was obliged 
to " materialise ' for me, to refer to when reading the 
proofs, as I refused to pass the pages for the "' strike- 
off " unless my doubts as to the accuracy of her copy 
were satisfactory. One of these was a French work on 
physiology and psychology ; the other, also by a French 
author, upon some branch of neurolog}-. The first was 
in two volumes, bound in half calf, the other in pam- 
phlet wrapper. It was when we were living at 3c j West 
47th street — the once-famous " Lamaser)'," and the ex- 
ecutive headquarters of the Theosophical Society. I 
said : " I cannot pass this quotation, tor I am sure it 
cannot read as you have it." She said : " Oh don't 
bother ; it 's right ; let it pass. ' I refused, until finall} 
she said : " Well, keep still a minute and I '11 try to ge: 
it." The far-away look came into her eyes, and pres- 
ently she pointed to a far corner of the room, to an 
e'tagire on which were kept some curios, and in a hoUow 
voice said : " There ! " and then came to herself again. 

" There, there ; go look for it over there ! " I went, 

2IO Old Diary Leaves 

and found the two volumes wanted, which, to my knowl- 
edge, had not been in the house until that very moment. 
I compared the text with H. P. B.'s quotation, showed 
her that I was right in my suspicions as to the error, 
made the proof correction and then, at her request, re- 
turned the two volumes to the place on the dtagire from 
which I had taken them. I resumed my seat and work, 
and -when, after awhile, I looked again in that direc- 
tion, the books had disappeared ! After my telling this 
(absolutely true) story, ignorant sceptics are free to 
doubt my sanity ; I hope it may do them good. The 
same thing happened in the case of the apport of the 
other book, but this one remained, and is in our posses- 
sion at the present time. 

The " copy " turned off by H. P. B. presented the most 
marked dissemblances at different times. While the 
handwriting bore one peculiar character throughout, so 
that one familiar with her writing would always be able 
to detect any given page as H. P. B.'s, yet, when exam- 
ined carefully, one discovered at least three or four 
variations of the one style, and each of these persistent 
for pages together, when it would give place to some 
other of the caligraphic variants. That is to say, there 
would not often — never, as I now remember — be more 
than two of the styles on the same page, and even two 
only when the style which had been running through 
the work of, perhaps, a whole evening or half an even- 
ing, would suddenly give place to one of the other styles 
which would, in its turn, run through the rest of an 

Isis Unveiled 211 

evening, or the next whole evening, or the morning's 
" copy." One of these H. P. B. handwritings was very 
small, but plain ; one bold and free ; another plain, of 
medium size, and very legible ; and one scratchy and 
hard to read, with its queer, foreign-shaped a"s and x's and 
e's. There was also the greatest possible difference in 
the English of tliese various styles. Sometimes I would 
have to make several corrections in each line, while at 
others I could pass manj" pages with scarcely a fault of 
idiom or spelling to correct. Most perfect of all were 
the manuscripts which were written for her while she 
was sleeping. The beginning of the chapter on the civ- 
ilisation of Ancient Egypt (vol. i., chap, xiv.,) is an 
illustration. We had stopped work the evening before 
at about 2 a.m. as usual, both too tired to stop for our 
usual smoke and chat before parting ; she almost fell 
asleep in her chair while I was bidding her good-night, 
so I hurried ofif to ray bedroom. The next morning, 
when I came down after my breakfast, she showed me 
a pile of at least thirty or forty pages of beautifully 
written H. P. B. manuscript, which, she said, she had 

had written for her by well, a Master, whose name 

has never yet been degraded like some others. It was 
perfect in even,- respect, and went to the printers with- 
out revision. 

Now it was a curious fact that each change in the 
H. P. B. manuscript would be preceded, either by her 
leaving the room for a moment or two, or by her going 
off into the trance or abstracted state, when her lifeless 

2 12 Old Diary Leaves 

eyes would be looking beyond me -into space, as it were, 
and returning to the normal waking state almost imme- 
diately. And there would also be a distinct change of 
personality, or rather personal peculiarities, in gait, vocal 
expression, vivacity of manner, and, above all, in tem- 
per. The reader of her Caves and J^ungles of Hindus- 
tan remembers how the whirling pythoness would rush 
out from time to time and return under the control, as 
alleged, of a different goddess ? It was just like that 
— bar the sorcery and the vertiginous dancing — with 
H. P. B. : she would leave the room one person and 
anon return to it another. Not another as to visible 
change of physical body, but another as to tricks of 
motion, speech, and manners ; with different mental 
brightness, different views of things, different command 
of English orthography, idiom, and grammar, and dif- 
ferent — very, very different command over her temper ; 
which, at its sunniest, was almost angelic, at its worst, 
the opposite. Sometimes my most stupid incapacity to 
frame in writing the ideas she wished me to put would 
be passed over with benevolent patience ; at others, for 
perhaps the slightest of errors, she would seem ready to 
explode with rage and annihilate me on the spot ! These 
accesses of violence were, no doubt, at times, explicable 
by her state of health, and hence quite normal ; but this 
theory would not, in the least, suffice to account for 
some of her tantrums. Sinnett admirably describes her 
in a private letter as a mystic combination of a goddess 
and a Tartar, and in noticing her behaviour in these 

Isis Unveiled 213 

different moods, sa)'s : * " She certainl\' had none of the 
superficial attributes one might have expected in a spir- 
itual teacher ; and how she could, at the same time, be 
philosopher enough to have given up the world for the 
sake of spiritual advancement, and yet be capable of 
going into frenzies of passion about trivial annoyances, 
was a profound mystery to us for a long while, etc." 
Yet, upon the theory that when her body was occupied 
by a sage it would be forced to act with a sage's tran- 
quillity, and when not, not, the puzzle is solved. Her 
ever-beloved aunt, Mme. X. A. F., who loved her, and 
whom she loved passionately to her dying day, wrote 
Mr. Sinnett that her strange excitability of tempera- 
ment, still one of her most marked characteristics, was 
already manifest in her earliest youth. Even then she 
was liable to ungovernable fits of passion, and showed a 
deep-rooted disposition to rebel against every kind of 
authority or control. "... The slightest contra- 
diction brought on an outburst of passion, often a fit 
of convulsions." She has herself described in a family 
letter {Oj>. cit., p. 205) her psychical experience while 
writing her book : 

" When I wrote Isis I wrote it so easily, that it was 
certainly no labour, but a real pleasure. Why should I 
be praised for it ? Whenever I am told to write, I sit 
down and obey, and then I can write easily upon almost 
anything — metaphysics, psychologj^, philosophy, ancient 
religions, zoology, natural sciences, or what not. I ne\ er 
* Incidents in the Life of Madame Blai'atsky, p. 224. 

214 Old Diary Leaves 

put myself the question : ' Can I write on this subject ?' 
... or, ' am I equal to the task ? ' but I simply sit 
down and write. Why ? Because somebody who knows 
all dictates to me. My Master, and occasionally others 
whom I knew on my travels years ago. Please do not 
imagine I have lost my senses. I have hinted to you 
before now about them . . . and I tell you candidly, 
that whenever I write upon a subject I know little or 
nothing of, I address myself to them, and one of them 
inspires me, /. e., he allows me to simply copy what I 
write from manuscripts, and even printed matter that 
pass before my eyes, in the air, during which process I 
have never been unconscious one single instant." 

She once wrote her sister Vera about the same sub- 
ject — the manner of her writing : 

" You may disbelieve me, but I tell you that in saying 
this I speak but the truth ; I am solely occupied, not 
with writing Isis, but with Isis herself. I live in a kind 
of permanent enchantment, a life of visions and sights, 
with open eyes, and no chance whatever to deceive my 
senses ! I sit and watch the fair goddess constantly. And 
as she displays before me the secret meaning of her long- 
lost secrets, and the veil becoming with every hour thin- 
ner and more transparent, gradually falls off before my 
eyes, I hold my breath and can hardly trust to my 
senses ! . . . For several years, in order not to forget 
what I have learned elsewhere, I have been made to 
have permanently before my eyes all that I need to see. 
Thus, night and day, the images of the past are ever 

Isis Unveiled 215 

marshalled before my inner eye. Slowly, and gliding 
silently like images in an enchanted panorama, centuries 
after centuries appear before me . . . and I am made to 
connect these epochs with certain historical events, and 
I know there can be no mistake. Races and nations, 
countries and cities, emerge during some former century, 
then fade out and disappear during some other one, the 
precise date of which I am then told by . . . Hoary anti- 
quity gives room to historical periods ; mj'ths are ex- 
plained by real events and personages who have really 
existed ; and every important, and often unimportant 
event, every revolution, a new leaf turned in the book 
of life of nations — with its incipient course and subse- 
quent natural results — remains photographed in my mind 
as though impressed in indelible colours. . . When I 
think and watch my thoughts, they appear to me as 
though they were like those little bits of wood of various 
shapes and colours, in the game known as the casse-tite : 
I pick them up one by one, and try to make them fit 
each other, first taking one, then putting it aside until I 
find its match, and finally there always comes out in the 
end something geometrically correct . . . T certainly re- 
fuse point-blank to attribute it to my own knowledge or 
memory, for I could never arrive alone at either such 
premises or conclusions. . . I tell you seriously I am 
helped. And he who helps me is my Guru." {Op. 
cit., 207). 

She tells her aunt that during her Master's absence on 
some other occupation, — 

2i6 Old Diary Leaves 

" He awakens in me, his substitute in knowledge . . . 
At such times it is no more /who write, but my inner 
Ego, my ^ luminous- self ,' who thinks and writes for me. 
Only see . . . you who know me. When was I ever so 
learned as to write such things ? Whence was all this 
knowledge ? " 

Readers, whose taste leads them to probe such unique 
psychical problems as this to the bottom, should not fail 
to compare the above explanations that she gives of her 
states of consciousness, with a series of letters to her 
family that was begun in the Path magazine (N. Y. 144 
Madison Ave.) for December, 1894. In those she plainly 
admits that her body was occupied at such times, and 
the literary work done by foreign entities who taught me 
through her lips and gave out knowledge of which she her- 
self did not possess even a glimmering in her normal state. 

Taken literally, as it reads, this explanation is hardly 
satisfactory ; for, if the disjointed thought-bits of her 
psychical casse-titc always fitted together so as to make 
her puzzle-map strictly geometrical, then her literary work 
should be free from errors, and her materials run to- 
gether into an orderly scheme of logical and literary 
sequence. Needless to say, the opposite is the case ; and 
that, even as Isis Unveiled came off the press of Trow, 
after Bouton had spent above $600 for the corrections 
and alterations that she had made in galley, page, and 
electroplate proofs,* it was, and to this day is, without a 

* He writes me, May 17th, 1887, " the alterations have already 
cost $280.80, and at that rate, by the time the book appears it will be 
handicapped with such fearful expense that each copy of the first 1000 

I sis Unveiled 217 

definite literary plan. Volume I. professes to be confined 
to questions of Science, Volume II. to those of Religion, 
yet there are many portions in each volume that belong 
in the other ; and Miss Kislingbury, who sketched out 
the Table of Contents of Vol. II. on the evening when I 
was sketching out that of Vol. I., can testify to the diffi- 
culty we had in tracing the features of a plan for each of 
our respective volumes. 

Then, again, when the publisher peremptorily refused 
to put any more capital into the venture, we had pre- 
pared almost enough additional MS. to make a third 
volume, and this was ruthlessly destroyed before we left 
America ; H. P. B. not dreaming that she should ever 
want to utilise it in India, and the Theosophist, Secret 
Doctrine, and her other subsequent literary productions, 
not even being thought of. How often she and I min- 
gled our regrets that all that valuable material had been 
so thoughtlessly wasted ! 

We had laboured at the book for several months and 
had turned out 870-odd pages of manuscript when, 
one evening, she put me the question whether, to oblige 

(our " Pdramaguru "), I would consent to begin all 

over again ! I well remember the shock it gave me to 

will cost a great deal more than we shall get for it, a very discourag- 
ing state of affairs to begin with. The cost of composition of the 
first volume alone (with stereotyping) amounts to $1,359-69. ^nd th's 
for one volume alone, mind you, without faper, press work or bind- 
ing ! Yours truly, J. W. Bouton." Not only did she make endless 
corrections in the types, but even after the plates were cast, she had 
them cut to transpose the old matter and insert new things that 
occurred to her ur that she had come across in her reading. 

2i8 Old Diary Leaves 

think that all those weeks of hard labour, of psychical 
thunder-storms and head-splitting archaeological conun- 
drums, were to count — as I, in my blind-puppy ignor- 
ance, imagined — for nothing. However, as my love and 
reverence and gratitude to this Master, and all the Mas- 
ters, for giving me the privilege of sharing in their work 
was without limits, I consented, and at it we went again. 
Well for me, was it, that I did ; for, having proved my 
steadfastness of purpose and my loyalty to H. P. B., 
I got ample spiritual reward. Principles were explained 
to me, multifarious illustrations given in the way of 
psychical phenomena, I was helped to make experiments 
for myself, was made to know and to profit by acquaint- 
ance with various Adepts, and, generally, to fit myself — 
so far as my ingrained stubbornness and practical worldly 
self-sufiRciency would permit — for the then unsuspected 
future of public work that has since become a matter of 
history. People have often thought it very strange, in 
fact incomprehensible, that, of all those who have helped 
in this Theosophical movement, often at the heaviest self- 
sacrifice, I should have been the only one so favoured 
with personal experiences of and with the Mahdtmas 
that the fact of their existence is a matter of as actual 
knowledge as the existence of my own relatives or inti- 
mate friends. I cannot account for it myself. I know 
what I know, but not why many of my colleagues do not 
know as much. As it stands, many people have told me 
that they pin their faith in the Mahdtmas upon my un- 
changing and unimpeached personal testimony, which 

Isis Unveiled 219 

supplements the statements of H. P. B. Probably I was 
so blessed because I had to launch the ship " Theoso- 
phy " with H. P. B. for H. P. B.'s Masters, and to steer 
it through many maelstroms and cyclones, when nothing 
short of actual knowledge of the sound basis of our 
movement would have influenced me to stick to my post. 
Let us next attempt to analyse the mental state of 
H. P. B. while writing her book, and see if any known 
hypothesis will give us the clue to those marked differ- 
ences in personality, handwriting, and mentality above 
mentioned. The task is one of so delicate and compli- 
cated a nature that I doubt if such a psychical problem, 
save Shakespeare's, has ever been presented before ; and 
I think that, after reading what I have to say, my fellow- 
students in Theosophy and Occult Science will concur 
in this opinion. 



WHILE I may well despair of proving the exact 
degree in which the complex personality, 
H. P. B., may be said to have written Isis Unveiled, 
yet I think it clear and beyond dispute that she di- 
gested and assimilated all the material, making it her 
own and fitting it into her book like bits of stone into a 
mosaic. As Prof. Wilder recently wrote me : " Few books 
are absolutely original. That these volumes were in her 
peculiar style is as plain as can well be. People only 
demand that Mr. Henry Ward Beecher's principle be 
applied : ' When I eat chicken, I do not become chicken ; 
the chicken becomes me ! ' " 

Nothing would be easier than to shirk the whole 
inquiry, and chime in with those who simply declare 
H. P. B. to have been, so to say, divinely inspired, and 
guiltless of errors, contradictions, exaggerations, or limi- 
tations ; but I cannot do this, having so well known her, 
and the truth only will serve me. As for shrinking from 
the closest inquiry into her occult and mental gifts, it is 

Different Hypotheses 221 

not to he tho-.;_:-: of. I, cert;unly. am not going to shut 
my eyes to tacts, and thus .-.bandon her and her work to 
those -n-ho would rejoice in destroying the pedestal upon 
which we ov.i'.t to place her, and degrading her into the 
dangerous impostor which the leaders of tJie S. P. R. 
tried to show her to be. The ver^- question of the al- 
leged resemblances between her own handwriting and 
that of a Master — one of the counts in their indictment — 
properly comes within the lines of our present discussion 
of the MS. of Isis C'.rn/^.i, 

One canno: fail to see. after reflection, that as regards 
the case in point, at least these several hypotheses must 
be considered : 

1. Was the book written by H. P. B. entirely as an 
independent, conscientious amanuensis, from the dicta- 
tion of a Master ? 

2. Or whollv or in part bv her Higher Self while con- 
trolling her physical organism ? 

;. Or as a medium obsessed by other living persons ; 

4. ^''r partly under any two or more of these three 
conditions ? 

;. Or as an ordinai-\- spiriraal medium, controlled by 
intelligences disincamate ? 

6. Or was it written by several alternately latent and 
active personalities of herself ? 

7. Or simplv by her as the uninspired, uncontrolled 
and not obsessed Russian lady. H. P. B.. in the usual 
state of waking consciousness, and ditlenng in no way 
from anv author doing a work of this class ? 

22 2 Old Diary Leaves 

Let us begin with the last alternative. We shall dis- 
cover very readily and unmistakably that H. P. B.'s 
education and training were quite incongruous with the 
idea that she was erudite, philosophical, or in the least 
degree, a book-worm. The memoirs of her life, as 
communicated by her family to Mr. Sinnett, her biog- 
rapher, and to myself, * show that she was a rebellious 
pupil with no love of serious literature, no attraction for 
learned people, no tendency to haunting libraries : the 
terror of her governesses, the despair of her relatives, a 
passionate rebel against all restraint of custom or con- 
ventionality. Her early years were passed in the com- 
pany of " hunchback goblins " and sprites, with whom 
she spent days and weeks together, and in playing dis- 
agreeable tricks upon, and clairvoyantly telling disagree- 
able secrets to, people. The only literature she loved 
was the folk-lore of Russia, and at no period of her life 
before she began to write Isi's, not even during the 
year she lived in New York before being sent to hunt 
me up, did the family or any of her friends or acquaint- 
ances hear of her displaying bookish habits or tastes. 
Miss Ballard and other ladies who knew her in her 
several New York lodging-houses, and were familiar 
with her habits and mode of life, never knew her to 
have visited the Astor, the Society, the Mechanics', the 
Historical, the American Institute, the Brooklyn, or the 
Mercantile library : no one has ever come forward to 
recognise her as a frequenter of those alcoves of printed 
* Cf. Chapter VII. 

Different Hypotheses 223 

thought. She belonged to no scientific or otherwise 
learned society in any part of the world ; she had 
published no book. She hunted up thaumaturgists in 
savage and semi-civilised countries, not to read their 
(non-existent) books, but to learn practical psychology. 
In short, she was not a literary person up to the time of 
writing Isis. This fact was equally clear to each of 
her New York intimates as it was to myself ; and the 
opinion is confirmed by herself in the last Lucifer article, 
" My Books," that she wrote before her death.* In it 
she says that the following facts are " undeniable and 
not to be gainsaid : 

"(1). When I came to America in 1873, I had not 
spoken English — which I had learned in my childhood 
colloquially — for over thirty years. I could understand 
when I read it, but could hardly speak the language. 

" (2). I had never been at any College, and what I 
knew I had taught myself ; I have never pretended to 
any scholarship in the sense of modern research ; I had 
then hardly read any scientific European works, knew 
little of Western philosophy and sciences. The little 
which I had studied and learned of these disgusted me 
with its materialism, its limitations, narrow cut-and-dried 
spirit of dogmatism and air of superiority over the 
philosophies and sciences^of antiquity: 

" (3). Until 1874, I had never written one word in 

*The article in question is very inaccurate, as was shown in this 
chapter as originally published in the Theosophist, May, r8g3. Space 
does not permit its repetition here. 

2 24 Old Diary Leaves 

English, nor had I published any work in any language. 
Therefore :- 

" (4) I had not the least idea of literary rules. The 
art of writing books, of preparing them for print and 
publication, reading and correcting proofs, were so many 
close secrets to me. 

" (s) When I started to write that which developed 
later into Isis Unveiled, I had no more idea than the 
man in the moon what would come of it. I had no 
plan ; did not know whether it would be an essay, a 
pamphlet, a book or an article. I knew that I had io 
write it, that was all. I began the work before I knew 
Colonel Olcott well, and some months before the for- 
mation of the Theosophical Society." 

The last sentence is misleading, for she did not begin 
it until we were well acquainted and in fact, were close 
friends. In fact, the whole article ought to have been 
entirely re-written if it was to have been her last. 

The endless substitutions of new for old " copy " and 
transportations from one Chapter or one Volume to 
another, in Isis Unveiled, were confined to such portions 
of the work as, I should say, were done in her normal 
condition — if any such there was — and suggested the 
painful struggles of a " green hand " over a gigantic 
literary task. Unfamiliar w^th grammatical English 
and literary methods, and with her mind absolutely 
untrained for such sustained desk-work, yet endowed 
with a courage without bounds and a power of con- 
tinuous mental concentration that has scarcely been 

Different Hypotheses 225 

equalled, she floundered on through weeks and months 
towards her goal, the fulfilment of her Master's orders. 
This literary feat of hers surpasses all her phenomena. 
The glaring contrasts between the jumbled and the 
almost perfect portions of her MS. quite clearly prove 
that the same intelligence was not at work throughout : 
and the variations in handwriting, in mental method, in 
literary facility, and in personal idiosyncracies, bear out 
this idea. At this distance of time and with her MS. 
destroyed, it is impossible for me to say which of her shift- 
ing personalities is mainly responsible for her alleged 
unacknowledged use of quotations. Whatever came 
into my hands that seemed as if taken from another 
author I, of course, would put between inverted com- 
mas, and it is quite possible that their blending with 
some of her own original ideas is chargeable to me ; the 
passages in question reading as if somebody's else. 
When she wrote other people's words into her current 
argument without break of the continuity, then, natur- 
ally enough — unless the passages were from books I had 
read, and that were familiar to me — I would go on cor- 
recting it as H. P. B.'s own " copy." I have said above 
that I got my occult education in the compilation of 
Isis and in H. P. B.'s teaching and experiments ; I must 
now add that my previous literary life had taken me 
into other and much more practical fields of study than 
the literature which is synthesised in Isis, viz., Agricul- 
tural Chemistry and Scientific Agriculture generally. 
So that she might have given me " copy " entirely made 

2 26 Old Diary Leaves 

up of passages borrowed from Orientalists, Philologists, 
and Eastern Sages, without my being able to detect the 
fact. Personally I have never had plagiarisms in Isis 
pointed out to me, whether verbally or otherwise, nor do 
I know there are such ; but if there are, two things are 
possible,(a) that the borrowing was done by the untrained, 
inexperienced literary beginner, H. P. B., who was ig- 
norant of the literary sin she committed, or {f) that the 
passages had been so worked into the copy as not to 
draw my editorial attention to their incongruity with 
what preceded and succeeded them. Or — a third al- 
ternative — might it be that, while writing she was always 
half on this plane of consciousness, half on the other ; 
and that she read her quotations clairvoyantly in the 
Astral Light and used them as they came a propos, with- 
out really knowing who were the authors or what the 
titles of their books ? Surely her Eastern acquaintances 
will be prepared to think that a plausible theory, for if 
ever anyone lived in two worlds habitually, it was she. 
Often — as above stated — I have seen her in the very act 
of copying extracts out of phantom books, invisible to 
my senses, yet most undeniably visible to her. 

Now let us consider the next hypothesis, the 6th, viz., 
that the book was written by several different H. P. B. 
personalities, or several personal strata of her conscious- 
ness capable of coming seriatim into activity out of 
latency. Upon this point the researches of our contem- 
poraries are not yet so far advanced as to unable us to 
dogmatise. In his Incidents in the Life of Mme. Blavatsky 

Different Hypotheses 227 

(P- 147). ^^^- Sinnett quotes a written description of hers 
of a '■ double life " she led throughout a certain " mild 
fever." which was yet a wasting illness, that she had 
when a 3'oung lady in Mingrelia : 

"AVhenever I was called by name, I opened my eyes 
upon hearing it, and was ni\selt, my own personality in 
even,- particular. As soon as I was left alone, however, 
I relapsed into my usual, half-dreamy condition, and 
became jwa^AvV c7jy (who, namely, ^Nlme. B. will not tell). 
In cases when I was interrupted, when in my 
other si\Y, by the sound of my present name being pro- 
nounced, and while I was conversing in my dream-life, 
— say at half a sentence either spoken by me or those 
who were with my second mc- at the time, — and opened 
my eyes to answer the call, I used to answer \ery ration- 
ally, and understood all, for I was never delirious. But 
no sooner had I closed my eyes again than the sentence 
which had been interrupted was completed by my other 
self, continued from the word, or even the half word it 
had stopped at. When awake, and mysi-//. I remembered 
well u'/h^ I :..\7s in my second capacity, and what I had 
been and was doing. When spmc'^i-'Jy else, i. e., the per- 
sonage I had become, I know I had no idea of who was 
H. P. Blavatsky 1 I was in another far-off country-, a 
totally different individuality from myself, and had no 
connection with my actual life.' 

In view of what has since been seen, some might say 
that the only H. P. B. was the conscious entity which 
inhabited her physical body, and that the " somebody 

2 28 Old Diary Leaves 

else " was not H. P. B., but another incarnate entity, 
having an inexpHcable connection with H. P. B.'s body 
and H. P. B. True, there are cases known where cer- 
tain tastes and talents have been shown by the second 
self which were foreign to the normal self. Prof. Bar- 
rett, for instance, tells of a vicar's son in the North of 
London who, after a serious illness, became two distinct 
personalities. The abnormal self " did not know his 
parents, he had no memory of the past, he called him- 
self by another name, and, what is still more remarkable, 
he developed musical talent, of which he had never 
shown a trace." So there are many cases where the 
second self, replacing the normal self, calls itself by a 
different name and has a special memory of its own expe- 
riences. In the well-known case of Lurancy Vennum, 
her body was completely obsessed by the disincarnate 
soul of another girl named Mary Roff, who had died 
twelve years before. Under this obsession her person- 
ality changed entirely ; she remembered all that had ever 
happened to Mary Roff prior to her decease, but her own 
parents, connexions, and friends became total strangers. 
The obsession lasted nearly four months.*** The body 
occupied seemed to Mary Roff " so natural that she 
could hardly feel it was not her original body born 
nearly thirty years ago." The Editor of the Watseka 
Wonder pamphlet copies from Harper's Magazine for 
May, i860, the Rev. Dr. W. S. Plummer's account of 

* See The Watseka Wonder. To be had of the Manager, Theoso- 
phist Office. 

Different Hypotheses 229 

a certain Mary Reynolds' double personality which 
lasted, with intervals of relapse to the normal state, from 
her eighteenth to her sixty-first year. During the last 
quarter centurj- of her life, she rcTnained wholly in her 
second abnormal condition : the normal self, that was the 
conscious owner of that body, had been v,iped out, 
as it were. But, observe the strange fact that all she 
knew in the second self had been taught her in that 
state. She began that second life at eighteen (of the 
body's life) oblivious of Marj' Reynolds, of all she had 
known or suffered ; her second state was precisely that 
of a new-bom infant. " All the past that remained to her, 
■was the faculty of pronouncing a few words : until she 
was taught their significance, they were unmeaning 
sounds to her." — ( Watseka Wonder, p. 42.) 

In the IncideTits, etc. (p. 146), is an explanation of the 
way in which H. P. B. would give the Gooriel and Min- 
grelian nobility, who came to consult her, answers to 
their q-iestions about their private affairs. She would 
simply, while in full consciousness, clairvoyantly see 
their thoughts " as they evolved out of their heads in 
spiral luminous smoke, sometimes in Jets of what might 
be taken for some radiant material, and settled in dis- 
tinct pictures and images around them." The following 
is especially suggestive : 

" Often such thoughts and answers to them would find 
themselves impressed in her o'Jjn brain, couched in words and 
sentences in the same way as original thoughts do. But, so 
far as we are all able to understand, the former visions 

230 Old Diary Leaves 

were always more trustworthy, as they are independent 
and distinct from the seer's own impressions, belonging 
to pure clairvoyance, not ' thought transference,' which 
is a process always liable to get mixed up with one's 
own more vivid mental impressions." 

This seems to throw light upon the present problem, 
and to suggest that it is thinkable that H. P. B., while 
quite normal as to waking consciousness, saw clairvoy- 
antly, or by thought-absorption — a better word than 
thought-transference in this connection — the stored-up 
wisdom of the branch of literature she was examining, 
and so took it into her own brain as to lose the idea 
that it was not original with herself. Practical Eastern 
psychologists will not regard this hypothesis so unrea- 
sonable as others may. True, after all, it is but a hypo- 
thesis, and her enemies will simply call her a cribber, a 
plagiarist. With the ignorant, insult is the line of least 

The supporters of this theory should, however, recol- 
lect that H. P. B.'s most ardent and passionate wish was 
to gather together as many corroborations as possible, 
from all ancient and modern sources of the theosophical 
teachings she was giving out ; and her interest all lay on 
the side of quoting respectable authorities, not in pla- 
giarising from their works for her own greater glory. 

I have read a good deal and known something about 
this question of multiple personality in man, but I do not 
remember a case where the awakened latent personal- 
ities, or second personality, was able to quote from books 

Dinerent H}"potiiei^es r;: 

:h-:- Tii: :he :-ck ^v - . rv-::;- ry - H. P. B, II. 

-vi ; 

e-s.f: f:^r ry s:.;;, ru: :- 

232 Old Diary Leaves 

there is a third personality which is aware of both the 
other two, and apparently superior to both. . . Mme. 
B. can be put to sleep at almost any distance, and when 
hypnotised completely changes her character. There 
are two well-defined personalities in her, and a third 
of a more mysterious nature than either of the two first. 
The normal waking state of the woman is called Ldonie 
I., the hypnotic state L6onie II. The third occult un- 
conscious personality of the lowest depth is called L^onie 
III. L^onie I. is a ' serious and somewhat melancholy 
woman, calm and slow, very gentle and extremely 
timid.' L^onie II. is the opposite — ' gay, noisy, and 
restless to an insupportable degree : she continues good- 
natured, but she has acquired a singular tendency to 
irony and bitter jests. In this state, she does not recog- 
nise her identity with her working self. " That good 
woman is not I," she says : " She is too stupid." ' ' Ldonie 
II. gets control of Leonie I.'s hand when she is in an 
abstracted mood ; her face calm, her eyes looking into 
space with a certain fixity,' but not ' cataleptic, for she 
was humming a rustic tune ; her right hand wrote 
quickly, and, as it were, surreptitiously.' When recalled 
to herself and the writing shown her, ' of the letter 
which she was writing she knew nothing whatever.' 
When Ldonie I. (the waking self) was effaced and Leonie 
II., the second self, was aroused in the hypnotic condi- 
tion, and rattling on with her usual volubility and ob- 
streperousness, she suddenly showed signs of terror ; 
hearing a voice as if from another part of the room. 

Different Hypotheses 233 

which scolded her and said : ' Enough, enough, be quiet, 
you are a nuisance.' This was a third personality, 
which awakened and took full possession of the patient's 
organism when she had been plunged into a deeper stage 
of lethargy. She unhesitatingly confessed that it was 
she who had spoken the words heard by L^onie II., and 
that she did it because she saw that the Professor was 
being annoyed by her babble. The imaginary voice 
which so terrified L6onie II. because it seemed super- 
natural, proceeded " — says Mr. Stead — " from a profound 
stratum of consciousness in the same individual." 

Our present purpose being only to superficially ex- 
amine the subject of multiple personality in connection 
with the hypothesis that H. P. B. might have had no 
other aid in writing Isis than her own several person- 
alities, we need not go deeper into a problem to sound 
which one must turn to the Hindu philosophical and 
mystical authorities. The ancient theory is that the 
" Knower " is capable of seeing and knowing all when 
he has been disburthened of the last veil of the physical 
consciousness. And this knowledge comes to one 
progressively as the fleshly veils are raised. In common, 
I suppose, with most extemporaneous public speakers, 
I have by long practice acquired, in some degree, the 
habit of triplex mental action. When lecturing in India 
extemporaneously, in English, and being interpreted, 
sentence by sentence into some other tongue, I find 
one part of my mind following the translator and trying 
to guess from the behaviour of the audience, often aided by 

234 Old Diary Leaves 

the hearing of familiar words, whether my thoughts are 
being correctly rendered ; at the same time, another part 
of my mind will be observing individuals and making 
mental comments upon their peculiarities or capabilities 
— sometimes I may even address side remarks to some 
acquaintance sitting near me on the platform ; the two 
mental activities are distinct and independent. The 
instant my interpreter has uttered his last word, I catch 
up the thread of my argument and proceed through 
another sentence. Simultaneously with the progress of 
these two functions, I have a third consciousness, as of 
an observant third, and higher self, which notes the 
other two trains of thought, yet without becoming entan- 
gled with them. This represents, of course, a rudimen- 
tary stage of psychical development, the higher degrees 
of which are indicated in some of the aspects of H. P. 
B.'s spiritual endowments ; yet even so much experience 
as this helps one to comprehend the problem of her 
mental phenomena : it is a feeble, yet sure, sign that the 
Knower can observe and know. 

If I were a Mussulman, I should probably affirm with 
Mahommed himself, that the writing of the Koran in 
such classical Arabic by so uneducated a man as him- 
self was the greatest of psychical miracles, a proof that 
his spiritual Ego had burst through trammels of flesh 
and drawn knowledge directly from its heavenly source. 
If H. P. B. had been an ascetic, mistress of her physical 
self and her waking brain, able to write pure English 
without having acquired it, and to have formed and 

Different Hypotheses 


fashioned her book after a consistent plan, instead of 
messing up her materials as she did, I might believe the 
same thing of her, and ascribe that wonder-book of 
entrancing interest to her own developed individuality. 
As it is, I cannot ; and I must pass on to discuss our 
other theories. 



OUR next question is, did she write Isis in the 
capacity of an ordinary s])iritu;il medium, /'. e., 
under the control of spirits of the dead ? I answer. 
Assuredly not. If she did, then the power controlling 
her organism worked differently from any tluit is re- 
corded in books or that I, jicrsonally, ever saw opera- 
ting during the many years in which I was interested in 
that movement. I have known mediums of all sorts — 
speaking, trance, vvriling, phenomena-making, medical, 
clairvoyant, and materialising; have seen tlicni at work, 
attended their s(5ances and observed the signs of their 
obsession and possession. H. P. 7!.'s case resembled 
none of them. Nearly all they did she could do ; but 
at her own will and pleasure, by day or by night, with- 
out forming " circles," choosing the witnesses, or impo- 
sing the usual conditions. Then, again, I had ocular 
proof that at least some of those who worked with us 
were living men, from having seen them in tlie flesh in In- 

Possession by Foreign Entities 2;- 

dia after having seen them in the astral body in America 
and Europe ; from having touched and talked with 
them. Instead of telling me that thev were spirits, they 
told me they were as much alive as myself, and that each 
of them had his o\vn peculiarities and capabilities ; in 
short, his complete individuality. They told me that 
what they had attained to, I should, one day, myself 
acquire : how soon, would depend entirely upon myself ; 
and that I might anticipate nothing whatever from favour : 
but, like them, must gain every step, every inch of pro- 
gress hv my own exertions. 

One of the greatest of them, the Master of the two 
Masters about whom the public has heard a few facts 
and circulated much foul abuse, wrote me on Tune 22, 
iS;-; : "The time is come to let you know who I am. I 
am not a disembodied spirit. Brother, I am a living man ; 
gifted with such powers by our Lodge as are in store for 
vourself some day. I cannot be with you otherwise than 
in spirit, for thousands of miles separate us at present. 
Be patient and of good cheer, untiring labourer of the 
sacred Brotherhood 1 Work on and toil too for yourself, 
for self-reliance is the most powerful factor of success. 
Help vour needy brother and you shall be helped your- 
self in virtue of the never-failing and ever active Law 
of Compensation " : the law of Karma, in short, which, 
as the reader perceives, was taught me from almost the 
beginning of my intercourse with H. P. B. and the 

And yet. despite the above, I was made to believe 

238 Old Diary Leaves 

that we worked in collaboration with at least one disin- 
carnate entity — the pure soul of one of the wisest phi- 
losophers of modern times, one who was an ornament to 
our race, a glory to his country. He was a great Platonist, 
and I was told that, so absorbed was he in his life-study, 
he had become earth-bound, i. e., he could not snap the 
ties which held him to the Earth, but sat in an astral 
library of his own mental creation, plunged in his phil- 
osophical reflections, oblivious to the lapse of time, and 
anxious to promote the turning of men's minds towards 
the solid philosophical basis of true religion. His desire 
did not draw him to taking a new birth among us, but 
made him seek out those who, like our Masters and their 
agents, wished to work for the spread of truth and the 
overthrow of superstition. I was told that he was so 
pure and so unselfish that all the Masters held him in pro- 
found respect, and, being forbidden to meddle with his 
Karma, they could only leave him to work his way out 
of his (Kimalokaic) illusions, and pass on to the goal of 
formless being and absolute spirituality according to the 
natural order of Evolution. His mind had been so in- 
tensely employed in purely intellectual speculation that 
his spirituality had been temporarily stifled. Meanwhile 
there he was, willing and eager to work with H. P. B. on 
this epoch-making book, towards the philosophical por- 
tion of which he contributed much. He did not mate- 
rialise and sit with us, nor obsess H. P. B., medium- 
fashion ; he would simply talk with her psychically, by 
the hour together, dictating copy, telling her what refer- 

:::f;r..j;. - J. ":? ^< ::- yr."cvv.fs, ,ind. in i-ic:, y!^\ :n; the 
par: of j. ;h:7d v;:^^- in c-;r 1 :;7.^rv >\ -r^yo^iu": He cvive 

C-". f:.;v.fv y.-.y^r — .ir.d f, '.v. c ;.:■.: ij would crcy :"? -i "rr.e: 
"e:i' ...,",.: <.-:v,cf vxTsor-a. ;v..-.::er. bv.; irora; to '-■*: h.s 
ri. ,".;:,■■- :o .:? 'ro:h ^v,tj ;>_.:; o; .". :":.d, ki-:id. exrneraeiy 

>_■ Sif.v.f.^ :.- h.v.e *,■• litde yfr.-ey:i.^r. :r..i:, I r::v.;;v.'r^r. 

,v:;?r ir. „"..5u,.l y h.xr.i :-:;>:? work, wtile vve were :-ti- 

vou re.Vviv ;,■> ?<;-;'-■-". ■ " : v.r-.ier :>,; •.•."yre<^.,^n :.'-i: we 
w;:; a: the eej:; ■^n;::c :"<:e.:h c: the endot the ;•■ ;-:-; ; 

re,'..,;. , he ."-■'«,..~'T.v h .;: 5x:"-ceey. ?-~$, ,u<,~ : t.~.'-r.-t ^t 
tr..-.: ! 

wih- er without H. ? ?. s hely, -:,-">-:..--?'-;• to do 

240 Old Diary Leaves 

in common with the Alsatians, I have grave doubts. I 
remember that one evening, at about twilight, while we 
lived in West Thirty-fourth Street, we had been talking 
about the greatness of Paracelsus and the ignominious 
treatment he had had to endure during his life and after 
his apparent death. H. P. B. and I were standing in 
the passage between the front and back rooms, when her 
manner and voice suddenly changed, she took my hand 
as if to express friendship, and asked, " Will you have 
Theophrastus for a friend, Henry ? " I murmured a 
reply, when the strange mood passed away, H. P. B. was 
herself again, and we applied ourselves to our work. That 
evening I wrote the paragraphs about him that now stand 
on p. 500 of Vol. II. of Isis. As for his being dead, the 
odds are always against any given Adept's having actually 
died when to ordinary men he seemed to. With his knowl- 
edge of the science of mayavic illusion, even his seeming 
corpse screwed into a coffin and laid away in a tomb, 
would not be sufficient proof that he was really dead. 
Barring accidents, which may happen to him as well as 
to a common man if he be off his guard, an Adept 
chooses his own place to die in, and his body is so dis- 
posed of as to leave no trace behind. For example, 
what became of the gifted, the noble-souled Count St. 
Germain, the " adventurer " and " spy " of the encyclo- 
paedias, who dazzled the courts of Europe a century ago, 
moved in the highest and the most erudite circles, was 
admitted to the intimacy of Louis XV., built hospitals 
and otherwise lavished vast sums in charities, took nothing 

Possession by Foreign Entities 241 

for even the greatest personal services, retired to Hol- 
stein, and — disappeared as mysteriously as lie had ap- 
peared ?* Apres Jious le Deluge, said the King's mis- 
tress ; after St. Germain came the French Revolution 
and the upheaval of mankind. 

Rejecting the idea that H. P. B. wrote Isis as an ordi- 
nary spirit medium " under control," we have seen, how- 
ever, that some portions of it were actually written to a 

* No one ever knew his origin or his real name. The >rarecha]e 
de Belle Isle, who met him in Germany, induced him to come to 
Paris. He had a noble personal appearance and polished ad- 
dress, ' ' considerable erudition and a wonderful memory, spoke Eng- 
lish, German, Spanish, and Portuguese to perfection, and French wth 
a slight Piedmontese accent. . . . He occupied for many years a 
remarkable social position at the French Court. . . . He was in 
the habit of telling the credulous that he had lived 350 years, and some 
oldjnen, who p7-£iended to have knowji him ui tlieir youth ^ declared 
that in 60 or 70 years his appearance had in no zuise chavgcd. Fred- 
eric the Great, having asked Voltaire for some particulars respecting 
this mysterious person, was told that he was ' a man who never dies 
and who knows ever)' thing. ' " No one knowing his motives or the 
sources of his wealth, they settled it to their own satisfaction in the 
same way as that which Hodgson, the spy of the S. P. R. , resorted to 
in the case of H. P. B. to explain herpresence in India ; he was alleged 
' ' to have been employed during the greater part of his life as a spy 
at the courts at which he resided " (Am. Cyc, Ed. 1S6S, vol. xiv., pp. 
266-7). But, all the same, no evidence whatever to support this 
calumny has ever been forthcoming. The Encychpcedia Britannica 
takes the same view cf St. Germain, and the Dictionnaire Uuiversel 
d'Histoireei de Ceographie echoing the falsehood, says that "this 
will account for his riches and the mystery with which he enwrapped 
himself ! " If Mme. de Fadeef — H. P. B.'s aunt — could only be in- 
duced to translate and publish certain documents in her famous 
library,the world would have a nearer approach to a true history of 
the pre- Revolutionary European mission of this Eastern Adept than 
has until now been available. 

242 Old Diary Leaves 

spirit's dictation : a most extraordinary and exceptional 
entity, yet still a man out of the physical body. The 
method of work with him as above described tallies 
closely with that she described in a family letter, when 
explaining how she wrote her book without any previous 
training for such work. 

" Whenever I am told to write, I sit down and obey, 
and then I can write easily upon almost anything — meta- 
physics, psychology, philosophy, ancient religions, zool- 
ogy, natural sciences, or what not. . . . Why ? Be- 
cause somebody who knows all dictates to me. My Masters, 
and occasionally others whom I knew on my travels years 
ago." {^Incidents, page 205.) 

This is exactly what happened between her and the 
old Platonist, but he was not her " Master," nor could 
she have met him on her travels on this physical plane, 
since he died before she was born — this time. Then 
arises the question whether the Platonist was really a 
spirit disincarnate, or an Adept who had lived in that 
philosopher's body and seemed to, but really did not, 
die out of it on September i, 1687. It is certainly a 
difficult problem to solve. Considering that the ordinary 
concomitants of spirit-possession and spirit-intercourse 
were wanting, and that H. P. B. served the Platonist in 
the most matter-of-fact way as amanuensis, their relation 
differing in nothing from that of any Private Secretary 
with his employer, save that the latter was invisible to 
me but visible to her, it does look more as if we were 
dealing with a living than with a disincarnate person. 

Possession by Foreign Entities 243 

He seemed not quite a " Brother " — as we used to call 
the Adepts then — yet more that than anything else ; and 
as far as the literary work itself was concerned, it went 
on exactly as the other parts of it did when the dictator, 
or writer, as the case might be, was professedly a Master 
(Cf. Theory i). The dictator or writer, I say, and this 
requires some explanation. 

It is stated above that the H. P. B. manuscript varied 
at times, and that there were several variants of the one 
prevailing script ; also that each change in the writing 
■was accompanied by a marked alteration in the manner, 
motions, expression, and literary capacity of H. P. B. 
When she was left to her own devices, it was often not 
difficult to know it, for then the untrained literary 
apprentice became manifest and the cutting and pasting 
began ; then the copy that was turned over to me for 
revision was terribly faulty, and after having been con- 
verted into a great smudge of interlineations, erasures, 
orthographic corrections and substitutions, would end 
in being dictated by me to her to re-write (Cf. Theory 
7). Now often things were, after a while, said to me 
that would be more than hints that other intelligences 
than H. P. B.'s were at times using her body as a writing 
machine : it was never expressly said, for example, " I 
am so and so," or " Now this is A or B." It did not 
need that after we " twins " had been working together 
long enough for me to become familiar with her every 
peculiarity of speech, moods, and impulses. The change 
■was as plain as day, and by and by after she had been 

244 Old Diary Leaves 

out of the room and returned, a brief study of her fea- 
tures and actions enabled me to say to myself, " This is 

J or , or, " and presently my suspicion would 

be confirmed by what happened. One of these Alter Egos 
of hers, one whom I have since personally met, wears a 
full beard and long moustache that are twisted, Rajput 
fashion, into his side whiskers. He has the habit of 
constantly pulling at his moustache when deeply pon- 
dering : he does it mechanically and unconsciously. 
Well, there were times when H. P. B.'s personality had 
melted away and she was " Somebody else," when I would 
sit and watch her hand as if pulling at and twisting a 
moustache that certainly was not growing visibly on H. 
P. B.'s upper lip, and the far-away look would be in the 
eyes, until presently resuming attention of passing things, 
the moustached Somebody would look up, catch me 
watching him, hastily remove the hand from the face, 
and go on with the work of writing. Then there was 
another Somebody, who disliked English so much that 
he never willingly talked with me in anything but 
French : he had a fine artistic talent and a passionate 
fondness for mechanical invention. Another one would 
now and then sit there, scrawling something with a 
pencil and reeling off for me dozens of poetical stanzas 
which embodied, now sublime, now humorous ideas. 
So each of the several Somebodies had his peculiarities 
distinctly marked, as recognisable as those of any of our 
ordinary acquaintances or friends. One was jovial, 
fond of good stories and witty to a degree ; another, all 

Possession by Foreign Entities 245 

digTiit)-, reserve, and erudition. One would be calm, 
patient, and benevolently helpful, another testy and 
sometimes exasperating. One Somebody would ahvavs 
bo willing to emphasise his philosophical or scientific 
explanations of the subjects I was to write upon, bv 
doing phenomena for my edification, while to another 
Somebody I dared not even mention them. I got an 
awful rebuke one evening. I had brought home a while 
before two nice, soft pencils, just the thing for our desk 
work, and had given one to H. P. B. and kept one my- 
self. She had the very bad h.abit of borrowing pen- 
knives, pencils, rubber, and other articles of stationery 
and forgetting to return them : once put into her drawer or 
writing-desk, there they would stay, no matter how much 
of a protest you might make over it. On this particular 
evening, the artistic Somebodv was sketching a navvv's 
face on a sheet of common paper and chatting with me 
about something, when he asked me to lend him another 
pencil. The thought flashed into my mind, " If I once 
lend this nice pencil it will go into her drawer and I 
shall have none for my own use." I did not sa)- this, I 
only thought it, but the Somebody gave me a mildly 
sarcastic look, reached out to the pen-tray between us, 
laid his pencil in it, h.tndled it with his fingers of that 
hand for a moment, and lo ! a dozen pencils of the 
identical make and quality ! He said not a word, did 
not even give me a look, but the blood rushed to my 
temples and I felt more humble than I ever did in my 
life. All the same, I scarcely think I deserved the 

246 Old Diary Leaves 

rebuke, considering what a stutioneiy-annexer H. P. B. 
was ! 

Now when either of these Somebodies was " on guard," 
as I used to term it, the H. P. B. manuscript would pre- 
sent the identical peculiarities that it had on the last 
occasion when he had taken his turn at the literary 
work. He would, by preference, write about the class 
of subjects that were to his taste, and instead of H. P. B. 
playing the part of an amanuensis, she would then have 
become for the time being that other person (Cf. Theory 
3). If you had given me in those days any page of 
Is/s manuscript, I could almost certainly have told 
you by which Somebody it had been written. Where, 
then, was H. P. B.'s self at those times of replacement ? 
Ah, that is the question ; and that is one of the myste- 
ries which are not given to the first comer.* As I under- 
stood it, she herself had loaned her body as one might 
one's type-writer, and had gone off on other occult busi- 
ness that she could transact in her astral body ; a certain 
group of Adepts occupying and manoeuvring the body 
by turns. When they knew that I could distinguish 
between them, so as to even have invented a name for 
each by which H. P. B. and I might designate them in 
our conversation in their absence, they would frequently 
give me a grave bow or a friendly farewell nod when 
about to leave the room and give place to the next relief- 

* Nearly two years after the above was published H. P. B. ex- 
plained to her relatives (cf. PatA articles above cited) the secret ; she 
was not in her body, but seemingly near it, with full consciousness 
watching its manipulation by third parties. 

Possession by Foreign Entities ::47 

guard. And they would sometimes talk to me of each 
other as friends do about absent third parties, bj- which 
means I came to know bits of their se\"eral personal 
histories ; and would also speak about the absent H. P. 
B., distinguishing her from the p'nysical body they had 
borrowed from her. One M.ihitma, writing me about 
some occult business, speaks of it — the H. P. B. bodv — 
as " the old appearance " ; again, in 1S76, he writes .ibout 
" it and the Brother inside it " ; another Master .isks 
me — A fr\-'fi\( of a terrific fit of anger to which I had 
(unintentionally) provoked H. P. B. — " Do j-ou want to 
kill the body ? "' ; and the same one, in .i note of 1S75, 
speaks of "tliose who represent us in the s/u/.'" — the 
underscoring of the word being his. Can any one 
understand my feelings upon discovering on a certain 
evening that I had unsuspiciously greeted the staid phi- 
losopher described in the next few sentences of the main- 
:ext, with an hilarious levity that quite upset his usual 
calm ? Fancving that I was addressing only mv "chum " 
H. P. B., I said : " ^^'ell, Old Horse, let us get to work ! " 
The next minute I was blushing for shame, for the 
blended expression of surprise and startled dignity that 
came into the face, showed me with whom I had to deal. 
It was as bad a cj;v./;ir;> as that committed by good old 
Peter Cooper at the New York Academy Ball to the 
Heir Apparent, when he slapped him on the shoulder 
and said : "Well, Wales, what do you think of this? " 
This was the one of them for whom I had the most 
filial reverence. It was not alone for his profound 

248 Old Diary Leaves 

learning, lofty character and dignified demeanour, but 
also for his really paternal kindness and patience. It 
seemed as if he alone had read to the bottom of my 
heart, and wished to bring out every little spiritual gerrn 
that lay there as a latent potentiality. He was — I was 
told — a South Indian personage of long spiritual experi- 
ence, a Teacher of Teachers ; still living among men 
ostensibly as a landed proprietor, yet known for what he 
was by nobody around him. Oh, the evenings of high 
thinking I passed with him ; how shall I ever compare 
with them any other experiences of my life ! Most 
vividly of all I remember one evening when, by half 
hints more than anything else, he awakened my intuition 
so that it grasped the theory of the relationship of cos- 
mic cycles with fixed points in stellar constellations, the 
attractive centre shifting from point to point in an 
orderly sequence. Recall your sensations the first time 
you ever looked through a large telescope at the starry 
heavens — the awe, the wonder, the instant mental expan- 
sion experienced in looking from the familiar and, by 
comparison, commonplace Earth to the measureless 
depths of space and the countless starry worlds that 
bestrew the azure infinity. That was a faint approach 
to my feeling at the moment when that majestic concept 
of cosmic order rushed into my consciousness ; so over- 
powering was it, I actually gasped for breath. If there 
had previously been the least lingering hereditary lean- 
ing towards the geocentric theory, upon which men 
have built their paltry theologies, it was then swept away 

Possession by Foreign h.ntiries ::49 

like a dried leaf before the hurricane. I borne into 
a higher pline of thought. I -nras a free man. 

It was this Mister who dictated to H. P. B. the Replies 
to an English F. T. S. or^ questions suggested by a read- 
ing of " Esoteric Buddhism.' which published in the 
77u-osop'::'~.'f ioi Septemler, October,and Xovember, 1SS3. 
It was at Ooiacamtmd. at the house of Maj.-Gen. iMorgau. 
when, shivering withtJie cold, and her lower limbs swad- 
dled i:i rugs, she sat vrriiir.g them. One morning I was 
in her room a book, when she turned her head 
and said : " I '11 be hanged if I ever heard of the I.rphv- 
gians. Pid you ever read of such a tribe. Olcott ? ' 
I said I hid not. why did she ask ? " Well,' she replied, 
" tJie old gentleman tells me to write it down, but I 'm 
afriid there is some mistike : whit do you siy ? " I un- 
swered that if the Master in question gave her the 
name, she should write i: without fear as he was alwavs 
righi. And she did. This is an example of multitudi- 
nous cases where she wrote from dictation things quite 
outside her personal knowledge. She never studied 
Hindi nor. normally, could she speak or write it ; yet I 
have i Hindi note in Devanagari characters that I saw 
her write and hand to Sw.imi Dayanand Saraswati at the 
Vizianagram garden-house at Benares, where we were 
euests in iSSo. The Swami read it. wrote and signed 
his answer on the same sheet, and H. P. B. left it on the 
table, from which I took it. 

But I wish to say again, as distinctly as possible, that, 
not even from the wisest and noblest of these H. P. B. 

250 Old Diary Leaves 

Somebodies did I ever get the least encouragement to 
either regard them as infallible, omniscient, or omnipo- 
tent. There was never the least show of a wish on their 
part that I should worship them, mention them with 
bated breath, or regard as inspired what they either 
wrote with H. P. B.'s body, or dictated to her as their 
amanuensis. I was made simply to look upon them as 
men, my fellow-mortals ; wiser, truly, infinitely more 
advanced than I, but only because of their having pro- 
ceeded me in the normal path of human evolution. 
Slavishness and indiscriminate adulation they loathed, 
telling me that they were usually but the cloaks to sel- 
fishness, conceit, and moral limpness. Their candid 
opinions were frequently vouchsafed to me after the de- 
parture of some of these flattering visitors, and it would 
have sent any of my readers into a fit of laughter if 
they had been there one evening after a gushing lady 
had bade us good-night. Before leaving she petted H. 
P. B., sat on the arm of her chair, patted her hand and 
kissed her on the cheek ; I standing near by and seeing 
the blank despair depicted in the (male) Somebody's 
face. I conducted the lady to the door, returned to the 
room, and almost exploded with merriment when the 
ascetic Somebody — a sexless sadhoo if there ever was 
one — turned his mournful eyes at me and in an accent 
of indescribable melancholy said, " She kissed me ! " It 
was too much ; I had to sit down. 

I have remarked above that the dictation and literary 
collaboration between the old Platonist and H. P. B. 

Possession by Foreign Entities ^51 

was identical with that between her and the actual 
Adepts : and that, as he delighted in one branch of 
wort, so each of the others had their individual prefer- 
ences. But tliere was the difference that while the)' at 
times would dictate to her and at others occupy her body 
and write through it as if it were their own (just as the 
spirit of Mar\- Roff utilised the body of Lurancy Ven- 
num and felt it as natural as if she had been bom in it), 
the Platonist never obsessed her : he only used her as 
his amanuensis. Then, again, I h.ive spoken of the part 
of the Isis writing that was done by H. P. B. in pi\->fria 
/>£-'-.v";J. which was inferior to that done for her by the 
Somebodies. This is perfectly comprehensible, for how 
could H. P. B., who had had no previous knowledge of 
this sort, write correctly about the multifarious subjects 
treated in her book ? In her (seemingly") normal state, 
she would read a book, mark the portions that struck 
her, write about them, make mistakes, correct them, dis- 
cuss them with me, set me to writing, help my intuitions, 
get friends to supply materials, and go on thus as best 
she might, so long as there were none of the teachers 
within call of her psychic appeals. And they were not 
with us always, by any means. She did a vast deal of 
splendid writing, for she was endowed with marvellous 
natural Kterarv" capacity ; she was never dull or uninter- 
esting, and, as I have elsewhere noted, she was equally 
brilliant in three languages when the full power was 
upon her. She writes her Aunt that when her Master 
was busy elsewhere he left his substitute with her, and 

252 Old Diary Leaves 

then it was her " Luminous Self," her Augoeides, which 
thought and wrote for her (Cf. Theory 2). About this, 
I cannot venture an opinion, for I never observed her in 
this state : I only knew her in three capacities, viz., her 
proper H. P. B. self ; with her body possessed or over- 
shadowed by the Masters ; and as an amanuensis taking 
down from dictation. It may be that her Augoeides, 
taking possession of her physical brain, gave me the im- 
pression that it was one of the Masters that was at work : 
I cannot say. But what she omits telling her Aunt is 
that there were many, many times, when she was neither 
possessed, controlled nor dictated to by any superior in- 
telligence, but was simply and palpably H. P. B., our 
familiar and beloved friend, latterly our teacher ; who 
was trying as well as she could to carry out the object 
of her literary mission. Yet, despite the mixed agencies 
at work in producing Isis, there is an expression of in- 
dividuality running throughout it and her other works — 
something peculiar to herself. Epes Sargent and other 
American literati expressed to me their wonder at the 
grasp she showed of our language, and one gentleman 
went to the length of publishing the opinion that we had 
no living author who could excel her in writing English. 
This, of course, is vague exaggeration, but happily her 
style has been made the subject of a close comparison 
with those of others by a philologist of scientific training. 
In his work on the Origin, Progress, and Destiny of 
the English Language and Literature, the learned author. 
Dr. John A. Weisse, publishes a number of analytical 

Possession by Foreign Entities 253 

tables which show the sources of the words used by- 
English writers of renown. In the following excerpts 
will be seen the derivations of the English of Isis Uti- 
vcilcd in comparison with those of the words employed 
by some other authors. Dr. Weisse says the book is " a 
thesaurus of new phases and facts, so sprightfully related 
that even the uninitiated may read them with interest." 
Following is the analysis : 

Which Author and Work 


ic Words 























Robert Burton, A.D. 1621 
Anatomy of MelaTicholy 

John Bunyan, 1682, Pilgrim's 

Sir Thomas Browne, 


Sam. Johnson, 1784, (1780?) 
Lives of ihe English Poets. 

R. C. Trench, On the Study 
of Words 

George P. Marsh, lectures on 
ihe English Language, p. 

S. A. Allibone, 1872, Crit. 
Diet. Eng. Literature, etc. . 

Darwin, Origin of Species. . . 

H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Un- 

Her JIajesty the Queen, 
Leaves of our your. High- 


Old Diary Leaves 

It seems, therefore, that the English of Madame Bla- 
vatsky is practically identical with that of Dr. Samuel 
Johnson, which one might say is as nearly classically 
perfect as one could ask. The same test applied to her 
French writings would, doubtless, prove her to be as 
facile in the use of that beautiful language as the greatest 
of modern French authors. 




KFX >.c>'w -are rci rec.ird :he .-.ii:horship or Isis 
-." "triwiV^", .ir.c hc-w H, F. ?. * As :,' the fcnrer. 

i -o: :h-:: of H. ?, 5. 

o: jevfr.-. c;>;'.".'c: i*T:;erj .i: 

.tIo--e. >[y j-fr;>::,xl crjer^.-.^;: 

tvilly bo-~e oa; "by •.vr.-x: she her??-: aa",::; i" ex- 

pl.'.r.,--:.--- Iet:e:j re her :-;:-^:',v, .-.< quoted by Mr. S.r.nett, 

tor fhe sovj tho.t all tho ronior.s which deal with subjects 

previov.s-v i:-f,t:i-.:I'„tr to her -^ere either dict.itec to her 

br.tir. Jirtd ot her phvsio-. body, The o^restioti is 
hichlv oorap'ex. o.ud the ex.tot t--::hwfll ttever be h-o^r. 
.ti t.^ the shojre which e-tch of the p.trticio-tr.ts had :r. it. 
The versozoditv of H. ? ? •sr.ts the rcov.Id in '^'hich .ill 
the nicttter ■an.-.j c.t<t, -".ttd whtch^, cortrOL.evi :ts 
',"-31, ce'.0"-::btc. -tr.d exvres^ior,. s? to s.t"', by ".;s own idto- 
s"~cnc;es, o.s well -".s pr-ys,cOi.i. ir rr. "ust .ts to.e 

256 Old Diary Leaves 

successive occupiers of the H. P. B. body only modified 
its habitual handwriting, but did not write their own,* 
so in using the H. P. B. brain, they were forced to allow 
it to colour their thoughts and arrange their words after a 
fixed personal fashion peculiar to it. Like as the daylight 
passing through cathedral windows becomes coloured 
to the tints of the stained glass, so the thoughts trans- 
mitted by them through H. P. B.'s peculiar brain would 
have to be modified into the literary style and habits of 
expression to which it had been by her developed. And 
even common sense teaches us that the closer the natural 
identity between the possessing intelligence and the in- 

* A very curious fact is to be noticed in this connection, viz. , that 
the " Mahatma M.'s" handwriting, which was so carefully scrutinised 
by the S. P. R., their experts and agents, and said to resemble that 
of H. P. B., was a coarse, rough script, something like a collection of 
chopped roots and brush-wood, while the handwriting of the same 
personage in the Jsis MS. and in the notes he wr(^te me was totally 
different. It was a small, fine script, such as a lady might have writ- 
ten, and while generally resembling H. P. B.'s own handwriting, 
yet differing from it so as to present an appearance of distinct indi- 
viduality, which enabled me to recognise it as that personage's MS. 
whenever I saw it. I do not pretend to account for this fact, I only 
state it as something which must be recorded. It should be consid- 
ered hereafter by whatever psychological experimentalist may be 
studying the general phenomenon of psychic writing through mediums, 
or intermediaries of a similar kind, whether by precipitation, control 
of the hand, or occupancy of the body. I think that such an inquiry 
will result in proving that such writing, when as closely analysed ns 
were the alleged Mahatma's writings by the S. P. R., always resem- 
bles that of the intermediary to a greater or lesser extent, and without 
carrying the implication of bad faith on his or her part. Ignorance, 
or wilful disregard of this fact, caused the S. P. R.'s indictment 
against II. P. B. to lose almost all its point. The late W. Stainton 
Moses, M.A. (Oxon.), quotes in his work on Psychography, p. 125, 

Definition of Terms 257 

tellectual and moral personality controlled, the easier 
should be the control, the more fluent the composition, 
the less involved the style. In point of fact what I no- 
ticed was this, that at times when the physical H. P. B. 
was in a state of supreme irascibility, the body was rarely 
occupied save by the Master whose own pupil and spir- 
itual ward she was, and whose iron will was even stronger 
than her own ; the gentler philosophers keeping aloof. 
Naturally, I asked why a permanent control was not put 
upon her fiery temper, and why she should not always be 
modified into the quiet, self-centred sage that she be- 
came under certain obsessions. The answer was that 

from a letter to him from Mr. W. H. Harrison, formerly editor of 
The Spiritualist, and a very experienced observer of psychical phe- 
nomena, the following remarks about the messages through Dr. Slade : 
' ' I noticed that they were nearly always in the handwriting of the 
medium ; and this, which, to an ignorant person, would have been 
indicative of imposture, was in favour of the genuineness of the phe- 
nomena to an expert. On leaving the room after the seance, I had 
a short talk with Mr. Simmons, and without telling him what I knew, 
but merely to test his integrity, I asked whether the handwriting on 
the slates bore any resemblance to that of Dr. Slade. Without hesi- 
tation, he replied that there was usually a strong resemblance. This 
shows the truthfulness and absence of exaggeration incidental to the 
statements of Mr. Simmons." Mr. Harrison adds that "before Dr. 
Slade came to London, years of observation at numerous seances had 
proved to me that the materialised hands common at seances were 
most frequently the duplicates of those of the medium, and produced 
nearly the same handwriting." And yet, in the presence of Slade, 
and another psychic, named Watkins, alleged "spirit messages" 
were written in some twenty different languages, none of which were 
known to the mediums nor written by them in the usual way of 
writing, but all either by precipitation or the manipulation of a crumb 
of pencil or crayon laid on a slate, which their hands did not touch. 

258 Old Diary Leaves 

such a course would inevitably lead to her death from 
apoplexy ; the body was vitalised by a fiery and impe- 
rious spirit, one which had from childhood brooked no 
restraint, and if vent were not allowed for the excessive 
corporeal energy, the result must be fatal. I was 
told to look into the history of her kinsfolk, the 
Russian Dolgoroukis, and I would understand what 
was meant. I did so and found that this princely 
and warlike family, tracing back to Rurik (ninth cen- 
tury A.D.), had been always distinguished by extreme 
courage, a daring equal to every emergency, a passion- 
ate love of personal independence, and a fearlessness 
of consequences in the carrying out of its wishes. 
Prince Yakob, a Senator of Peter the Great, was a type 
of the family character. Disliking an imperial ukase, 
he tore it to pieces in full council of the Senate, and 
when the Tsar threatened to kill him, he replied : " You 
have but to imitate Alexander, and you will find a Clitus 
in me." {Am. Encyc, VI., 551.) This was H. P. B.'s 
own character to the life, and she more than once told 
me that she would not be controlled by any power on 
earth or out of it. The only persons she actually rever- 
enced were the Masters, yet even towards them, she was 
occasionally so combative that, as above said, in certain 
of her moods the gentler ones could not, or did not ap- 
proach her. To get herself into the frame of mind 
when she could have open intercourse with them had — 
as she had pathetically assured me — cost her years of 
the most desperate self-restraint. I doubt if any person 

Definition of Terms 259 

had ever entered the Path against greater obstacles or 
with more self-suppression. 

Of course, a brain so liable to disturbance was not the 
best adapted to the supremely delicate business of the 
mission she had taken upon herself ; but the Masters 
told me it was far and away the best now available, and 
they must get all they could out of it. She was to them 
loyalty and devotion personified, and ready to dare and 
suffer all for the sake of the Cause. Gifted beyond all 
other persons of her generation with innate psychical 
powers, and fired with an enthusiasm that ran into 
fanaticism, she supplied the element of fixity of purpose, 
which, conjoined with a phenomenal degree of bodily 
endurance, made her a most powerful, if not a very 
docile and equable agent. With less turbulence of 
spirit she would, probably, have turned out less faulty 
literary work, but instead of lasting seventeen years 
under the strain, she would, doubtless, have faded out 
of the body ten years earlier and her later writings have 
been lost to the world. 

The fact that the psychic's personality distinctly modi- 
fies the extraneous writing that is done through her 
agency or intermediation, gives us, it seems to me, a 
test by which to judge of the genuineness of any com- 
munications alleged to have come from Mahatmas " M." 
or "K. H." since H. P. B.'s death. While she was 
alive their communications always, wherever received or 
by whomsoever apparently written, resembled her own 
handwriting to some extent. This is as true of the 

26o Old Diary Leaves 

letters which I phenomenally received on a steamer on 
the high seas and in railway carriages, as of those which 
dropped out of space, or otherwise phenomenally reached 
the hands of Mr. Sinnett, Mr. Hume, and other favoured 
correspondents of our Eastern teachers. For, where- 
ever she might be, she was the vortex-ring through 
which they had to work with us in the evolution of our 
galaxy out of the nebula of modern thought. It did 
not matter at all whether she were with them in Tibet, 
or with me in New York, or with Mr. Sinnett at Simla : 
their co-operative affinity was psychical, hence as unaf- 
fected as thought itself, by questions of time and space. 
We have seen in the phenomenon of letters which were 
arrested in postal transit, written in, and made to reach 
me at Philadelphia instead of New York, a striking 
illustration of this principle in psycho-dynamics (Cf. 
Chapter II.). Bearing this in mind, the important de- 
duction follows that the probabilities are as an hundred 
to one that any written communication alleged to be 
from either of the Masters and received since H. P. B.'s 
death is open to suspicion if the handwriting is the same as 
it used to be before that event. * Grant the premise, and 
the conclusion is inevitable. If all Mahatma MSB. in 
her time had to, and did, resemble in some degree her 

* This Chapter was originally published in July, 1893. My deduc- 
tion has been objected to by some for whose judgment I have great 
respect. It may be that I am wrong, but at least I can say that I 
have seen no proofs to the contrary, even up to the present time 
(August, 1895). The specimens of Mahatma writing that have come 
to my notice since 1891 are, I fear, fraudulent imitations. 

Dentition of Te™> 


, > s-^e Mr. iS<i. <;^^::d ri<i:":.c ;: ^r would ;<; i: ^1 

--IS ;~ :he ^-:<; ^; K. " ?.. -^^s? :r.;:->"-::;;c c\:'Ci- 
i fc- Aft/ *nf i««^<«i^ or ,~.rovve-d ov.; c: sv-:,-; r^eior^ _ -.e < 

_-,---,-; rj f-br-,:- ""-::;" I >;r, "C i»iv:>^ ill --.v r^ii^^^ 

262 Old Diary Leaves 

to follow the same rule if they would be on the safe side : 
better far an enlightened scepticism than the most 
lauded credulity. For remember that probably no one 
has ever received a line in English from a Master in his 
own normal handwriting and written by him in the 
usual way, unless possibly we i.xc.e|)t the note which 
K. H. formed in my own hand when he visited mo in his 
physical body, one night in my tent at Lahore, in 1883. 
I should not care to dogmatise even about that, as I did 
not see him write it, and he may have created the letter 
then and there through the H. P. B. aura that went 
everywhere with me. Besides K. H. and the old Pla- 
tonist above mentioned, none of the Masters had Icarnl 
to write English, and when they did write it, they had to 
resort to the same abnormal method as that used by 
H. P. B. at Benares to write the Hindi note, in Devand- 
gari characters, to Swami Daydnand Saraswati, above 
alluded to. In this connection the two completely dis- 
similar handwritings of MahAtmd M. in the Isis MSS. 
of 1875-7 and the Indian letters to sundry persons after 
1879, must be kept in mind. When H. P. B. wrote to 
the Masters or they to her, on business that was not 
to be communicated to third parties, it was in an archaic 
language, said to be " Senzar," which resembles Tibetan, 
and which she wrote as fluently as she did Russian, 
French, or English. In fact, I have preserved a note I 
received from one of the Masters while in New York, 
along the top of which is written, in pure '/'i1)clan charac- 
ters in a sort of gold ink, the word " Sernj d\i3.h." I had 

Definition of Terms 263 

shown it to no one all these years, until quite recently 
at Calcutta, when Pandit Sarat Chandra Das, C. I. E., the 
Tibetan explorer and scholar, translated it for me as 
meaning " Of powerful heart " — an honorific title given 
in Tibet to a Bodhisattva. 

There was another and supreme reason why the Masters 
dare not control and compel H. P. B.'s innate character 
to be softened and refined into the higher ideal of a 
benevolent and gentle Sage independently of her own 
volition. To do so would have been an unlawful inter- 
ference with her personal Karma — as I may now express 
it. Like every other human being, she represented, as 
she then was, a certain personal equation, the fruit of a 
certain evolutionary progress of her entity. It was its 
Karma to have been born this time in just such a tumultu- 
ous female body and to have the chances thus offered to 
gain spiritual progress by a life-long combat against its 
hereditary passions. To have interfered with that by 
benumbing the violent temper and suppressing the other 
personal defects of character, would have been a griev- 
ous wrong to her without hastening her evolution one 
whit : it would have been something like the keeping of 
a hypnotic sensitive perpetually under the hypnotiser's 
will, or an invalid permanently stupefied by a narcotic. 
There were intervals when her body was not occupied 
by the writing Mahitmds, nor her mind absorbed in 
taking down what was dictated to her : at least I assume 
it to be so, although I have sometimes been even tempted 
to suspect that none of us, her colleagues, ever knew the 

264 Old Diary Leaves 

normal H. P. B. at all, but that we just dealt with an 
artificially animated body, a sort of perpetual psychical 
mystery, from which the proper jtva was killed out at 
the battle of Montana, when she received those five 
wounds and was picked out of a ditch for dead. There 
is nothing intrinsically impossible in this theory, since we 
have the historical fact that the normal personality of 
the girl Mary Reynolds was thrust aside or obliterated 
for the space of forty-two years, while her body was 
occupied, energised and controlled by another person- 
ality, which had no knowledge of the eighteen years' 
experiences and reminiscences of the normal self prior 
to this replacement. As regards H. P. B., I do not assert 
but only theorise, for I dare not say positively who this 
marvel of a woman, or, as M. de Buffon would have classi- 
fied her, this homo duplex, was. She was such a bundle of 
contradictions, so utterly incapable of being classified 
like any of us common folk, that as a conscientious man 
I shrink from anything like dogmatic assertion. What- 
ever she may have said to myself or anybody else, counts 
with me for very, very little, for having lived and trav- 
elled with her so long, and been present at so very many 
of her interviews with third parties, I have heard her tell 
the most conflicting stories about herself. To have been 
open and communicative would have been to betray the 
residences and personalities of her Teachers to that 
multitude of self-seekers whose egotistic importuni- 
ties have ever driven the would-be Yogi to the seclusion 
of the cave or forest. She chose as the easiest way out of 

Definition of Terms 265 

the difficulty to contradict herself and throw the minds 
of her friends into confusion. How easy it would 
have been for her, for example, to have told Mr. 
Sinnett that, when trying to enter Tibet in 1854, md 
Bhutan or Nepal, she was turned back by Capt. (now 
Maj.-Genl.) Murray, the military commandant of that 
part of the frontier, and kept in his house in his wife's 
company a whole month. Yet she never did, nor did 
any of her friends ever hear of the circumstance until 
Mr. Edge and I got the story from Major-General Mur- 
ray himself, on the 3rd March last, in the train between 
Nalhati and Calcutta, and I had printed it. So as to 
her age, she told all sorts of stories, making herself 
twenty, forty, even sixty and seventy years older than 
she really was. We have in our scrap-books certain of 
these tales, reported by successive interviewers and cor- 
respondents to their journals, after personal interviews 
with her, and on sundry occasions when I was present my- 
self.* She said to me in excuse that the Somebodies inside 
her body at these various times were of these various 
ages, and hence no real falsehood was told, although the 
auditor saw only the H. P. B. shell and thought what was 
said referred only to that ! 

*Cf. an interviewer's report in the Hartford Daily Times, December 
2, 1878. She had been making herself out a sort of Methusaleh, and 
the correspondent writes: " Very, very old? Impossible. And yet 
she declares it is so ; sometimes indignantly, sometimes with a certain 
pride, sometimes with indifference or impatience. ' I came of a very 
long-lived race. All my people grow to be very old. . . . You 
doubt my age ? I can show you my passports, my documents, my 
letters for years back. I can prove it by a thousand things.' " It 

266 Old Diary Leaves 

I have used the word " obsession " above, but am well 
aware of its wretched insufficiency in this case. Both 
" obsession " and " possession " have been made to 
signify the troubling of a living person by evil spirits or 
demons : an obsessed person is one vexed or besieged, a 
possessed person one who is possessed, controlled, over- 
shadowed, or occupied by them. Yet what other term 
is available in English ? Why did not the early 
Fathers invent a more decent word to signify the pos- 
session, control, occupancy, or overshadowing of a per- 
son by good spirits than that of " filling," or even let 
obsession and possession stand for that also ? " And 
they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to 
speak with other tongues, as the spirit gave them utter- 
ance." But this will not help us unless we ignore the 
circumstance that H. P. B.'s body became, at times, 
occupied by other entities — how far let the following 
anecdote suggest. She and I were in our literary work- 
room in New York one summer day after dinner. It 
was early twilight, and the gas had not been lighted. 
She sat over by the South front window, I stood on the 
rug before the mantle-piece, thinking. I heard her say 

was a large way she had of knocking the numerals about ! Like that 
of the Sikh Akali {vide Mr. Maclagan's Punjab Census Report of 
1891) who ■■ dreams of armies and thinks in lakhs ; '' — (a lakh is 
100,000). " If he wishes to imply that five Akalis are present, he 
will say that five lakhs are before you." 

The Phrenological yournal for March, 1878, contains her portrait 
and character-sketch. The writer says : "In the course of her long 
life — for she is upward of eighty years old — etc. '' I myself heard her 
tell this jfarn to the writer of the article. 

Definition of Terms 267 

Look and learn " ; and glancing that way, saw a mist 
rising from her head and shoulders. Presently it defined 
itself into the likeness of one of the Mahdtmds, the one 
who, later, gave me the historical turban, but the astral 
double of which he now wore on his mist-born head. 
Absorbed in watching the phenomenon, I stood silent 
and motionless. The shadowy shape only formed for 
itself the upper half of the torso, and then faded away 
and was gone ; whether re-absorbed into H. P. B.'s body 
or not, I do not know. She sat statue-like for two or 
three minutes, after which she sighed, came to herself, 
and asked me if I had seen anything. When I asked 
her to explain the phenomenon she refused, saying that 
it was for me to develop my intuition so as to understand 
the phenomena of the world I lived in. All she could 
do was to help in showing me things and let me make 
what I could of them. 

Numerous witnesses can testify to another phenome- 
non which may or may not go towards proving that other 
entities were sometimes occupying the H. P. B. body. 
On five different occasions — once to please Miss Emily 
Kislingbury, and once my sister, Mrs. Mitchell, I re- 
member — she gathered up a lock of her fine, wavy 
auburn hair, and either pulled it out by the roots or cut 
it off with scissors, and gave it to one of us. But the 
lock would be coarse, jet black, straight and without the 
least curliness or waviness in it ; in other words, Hindu 
or other Asiatic human hair, and not in the least like her 
own flossy, baby-like, light-brown locks. My Diary for 


Old Diary Leaves 

1878 shows that other two occasions were on July 9th, 
when she did the thing for Hon. J. L. O'SuUivan, ex-U. S. 
Minister to Portugal, and on November 19th, when she 
did it for Miss Rosa Bates in the presence of six other wit- 
nesses besides Miss Bates and H. P. B. and myself. The 
enemy may suggest that this was but a trick of simple 


" palming," but that is met by the statement that in the 
case of the lock given to Miss Kislingbury or my sister — 
I forget which — the recipient was allowed to take the 
scissors and cut out the lock herself. I have two locks 
taken from her head, both black as jet and far coarser 
than hers, but one distinctly coarser than the other. 
The former is Egyptian, and the latter Hindu hair. 

Definition of Terms 269 

What better explanation of this phenomenon is there 
than that of supposing that the men to whom these black 
locks had belonged were actually occupying the mayavic 
H. P. B. body when they were removed from the head ? 
But to return to our philological difficulty. 

The word epistasis will not do for us ; for that means 
" inspection, superintendence, command, management," 
which does not cover the case. Epiphany is not much 
better, epiphaneia being a shining upon, manifestation, 
etc., etc. We have no word ; yet one is greatly needed 
at this stage of our psychical research, and for it we must 
go to the East. 

This occupancy by living persons of another living 
person's body, though so outside our Western experience 
that we have no word for it is, like all else in psycholo- 
gical science, known and defined in India. A'ves'a (pro- 
nounced Ahveysha) is the act of possessing, /. e., entering 
and controlling, a human body belonging to a living 
being {^jiva). It is of two kinds : when the Adept's 
own ams'a {^sukshma s'artra), or astral body, is withdrawn 
from his own physical body and introduced into the 
other person's body, it is thtn caWed svartipdves' a ; but 
when by his mere sankalpa (will-power) he influences, 
broods over, or controls that other person's {Jtvd) body 
to do that which would otherwise be beyond its power, 
e.g., to speak an unlearnt foreign tongue, to understand 
unfamiliar branches of knowledge, to instantly disappear 
from the sight of bystanders, to transform itself into a 
terrifying shape, as of a serpent or a ferocious animal, 

270 Old Diary Leaves 

etc., then the thing is called saktydves'a. This gives us 
all we need, and so, as we took " Epiphany " from the 
Greek, why should we not all agree to adopt the easy 
word A'ves'a from the Sanskrit, since it is ready to our 
hand and means the very thing that we, toddling babes 
in the nursery of adeptship, must have to get on with in 
our studies ? It applies only to the psychical commerce 
between two living persons or to the overshadowing and 
inspiration of a living person by a superior spiritual 
entity, and must not be degraded to signify the occu- 
pancy of a medium's body or its control for the produc- 
tion of phenomena, by a dead man's soul. That is called 
grdhana, and the elementary (dead man's soul) grdham 
(pronounced grah-hum). The same word is used to 
express the occupancy of a living body by an elemental, 
or Nature-spirit. Such occupancy may be {a) sponta- 
neous, i. e., effected by the attraction of the elemental 
towards a psychic ; or {b) compulsory, i. e., compelled by 
the will of a sorcerer or magician who has learnt the 
formulas for subjecting an elemental or elementary to 
his control. I got in Japan a photograph of a bronze 
group representing Ko-bo-dai-shi, the alleged Adept 
founder of the Shingon sect, with two little elementals 
crouched at his feet and awaiting his pleasure. A monk 
of the Yama-busi sect — that of the wonder-workers of 
Japan — gave me a scroll wall-painting of the Founder of 
his sect with attendant elemental servants. This picture 
now hangs in H. P. B.'s old room in London. She, her- 
self, had also such servants obedient to her. 

Definition of Terms 271 

There is an old and amusing Indian story of how 
King Vikramadityd conquered the obstinacy of the 
Princess Pes'dmadandd who had made a vow to keep 
silent and marry nobody who could not compel her to 
answer his questions. The mighty king magician got 
astride his favourite elementary — not elemental — the 
Brahmardkshds Bhetala, and made him transport him 
into the very chamber of the lady. Finding that she 
would not answer him in the natural way, he made 
Bhetala obsess all her ladies-in-waiting and set them to 
praising him, telling him a story, and reproaching their 
mistress for her silence. Thereupon she sent them out 
of the room. The Princess then drew a curtain between 
herself and the king, but the spirit was made to enter 
the curtain and set it talking. The Princess pushed the 
curtain aside ; whereupon her petticoat took up the con- 
versation, and she cast that aside. Then the robe was 
made to speak, then the undergarment, then the four 
legs of her charpai or lounge ; but the stubborn damsel 
held her tongue. Finally Bhetdla was made to show 
(materialise) himself as a parrot, was caught by the 
Princess's order and given to her, and it straightway went 
on to tell a story about the Princess being obsesssed by 
S'ani, the god of 111 Luck. This was too much for her ; 
she flung herself at Vikram's feet, confessed herself 
vanquished, and as he did not want her for wife, was 
given by him in marriage to a suitable Prince. The 
story is given in Fdsdmadand^ Kathai, a Tamil story 

272 Old Diary Leaves 

The weighty subject of A'ves'a is treated of in the 
Laghu Sabddrtha Sarvasva of Mahdmahop4dhyaya Par- 
avastu Vencatarungacharya, Vol. I., p. 316, art. Avatdra. 
All intelligent Western readers of theosophical literature 
have heard of the Hindu theory of Avatirs — the Avatars 
of Vishnu, the visible manifestations of the protecting 
care of God over erring mankind, the proofs of his de- 
sire to keep them walking in the path of religious aspira- 
tion. Avataras are of two kinds : Prddurbhdva and 
A'ves'a. The act of assuming a body which is not pre- 
sided over, or rather animated by, a jiva, is called Pri- 
durbhava, of which Rama and Krishna are cited as ex- 
amples. What A'ves'a is, has been shown above. We 
find in Fdnchardtra Pddmasamhitd Charydpada, Chapter 
XXIV., verses 131-140, full instructions for performing 
the A'ves'a : 

" I now tell thee, O Lotus-born, the method by which 
to enter another's body {Pindam). . . . The corpse 
to be occupied should be fresh, pure, of middle age, 
endued with all good qualities and free from the awful 
diseases resulting from sin {viz., syphilis, leprosy, etc.) 
The body should be that of a Brahmin or even of a 
Kshatriya. It should be laid out in some secluded 
place (where there is no risk of interruption during the 
ceremonial process), with its face turned towards the sky 
and its legs straightened out. Beside its legs, shouldst 
thou seat thyself in Yogdsana (a posture of yoga), but 
previously, O four-faced one, shouldst thou with fixed 
and mental concentration, have long exercised this yoga 

Definition of Terms 273 

power. The jiva is located in the ndbhichakra (solar 
plexus), is of itself radiant as the sun and of the form 
of hamsa (a bird)* and it moves along the Ida and Pin- 
gala nadis (two alleged channels of psychic circulation). 
Having been concentrated as hamsa (by yoga), it will 
pass out through the nostrils, and, like a bird, dart 
through space. Thou shouldst accustom thyself to 
this exercise, sending out the Prana to the height of 
a palm-tree, and causing it to travel a mile, or five 
miles or more, and then re-attracting it into thy body, 
which it must re-enter as it left it, through the nostrils, 
and restore it to its natural centre in the nabhichakra. 
This must be practised daily until perfection be 

Then, having acquired the requisite skill, the Yogi 
may attempt the experiment of psychical transfer and, 
seated as above described, he will be able to withdraw 
his Prdna-jtva from his own body, and introduce it into 
the chosen corpse, by the path of the nostrils, until it 
reaches the empty solar-plexus, there establishes its 
residence, reanimates the deceased person, and causes 
him to be seen as though " risen from the dead." 

* Hamsa is " Soham" inverted, which means " That I am," re- 
ferring to Parabrahm. Thus Parabrahm = Jivatma = Soham = 
Hamsa. But at the same time Hamsa being also the name of a divine 
bird supposed to possess the power of separating milk from water, it 
is made to esoterically represent A'tma. This is what is meant by 
the text " of the form of the bird Hamsa." Hamsa is that " silvery 
spark in the brain," that starry spark which is " not the soul, but the 
halo around the soul," so vividly described by Bulwer Lytton in the 
XXXI. chapter of A Strange Story. 

2 74 O'fl Diary T.('av(:.s 

The story of the rcsiiscit.ilion of llic body of tlic <lc- 
f:casc(I Raj;ili Aiiiar.ika of Aiiirilaimra by llii: Sajfc 
S'ankardchiirya, given by Mddhava, one of his biof^r.i- 
phers, has lieen very widely read. A ii'siinu'tA it will be 
found in the article" Life of S'ankarai h.'irya, l-U." con- 
lril)Utcd by Mr. (latiT Justic-,e) K.'J'. 'ICIaii)^, on paf^c («) 
of the numljer of tJu; T/uuisoplilst for January, r88o. The 
Sage had ple(lt;;cd himself, if granted one month's ris|iilc, 
to answer questions propoiindud to him by the: wife of 
Sage Mandaiia Misra upon the science of l,ove, wilh 
which he, a celibate from childhood, was totally iinai - 
i|uainted. Journeying with his dis< iples, lie re,i< bed 
the vicinity of Amritapura and saw the K.ijah's corpse 
lying at the foot of a tree, surroiind(Ml by mourners. 
'I'his was his chance to acquire the desired knowledge 
practically, sf; leaving bis body to the care of his dis- 
cij)les, he withdrew from it hia prdna-jiva, entered the body 
of the King, and amid the- tinnultiioiis joy of his sub- 
jects (jverthe supposed resuscitation, went to the capital 
and for some months lived the usual Zenana, life of a 
sovereign ruler, and finally answered the queslitjns 
about love.* The details need not be given here, my objei t 
being merely to use the incident in connec tion with the 
problem of H. I' I'.., as an illustration of the recognised 
power of A'ves'a possessed by a Yogi. MddliavatJidrya's 
S' ankaravijdya thus desf ribes it : 

"Withdrawing the (l'r;'Hi;i) Vdyu from the extremities 
of the toes and emerging through the brahmardndhra, the 

♦ Vide " Kama Siilra." 

Definition of Terms 275 

knower of Yoga (S'ankara) entered, and, by slow degrees, 
occupied the whole body of the dead (King) down to 
its very feet." 

By an interesting coincidence, I had just read this pas- 
sage when a certain circumstance flashed into my mem- 
ory, and I turned over my old New York files of letters 
and memoranda until I had found the following. It 
occurs in some notes I made at the time, of a conversation 
between myself and one of the Mahitmas, a Hungarian 
by birth, who, on that evening, occupied H. P. B.'s body : 

" He shades his eyes and turns down the gas in the 
standing burner on the table. Ask him why. Says that 
light is a physical force, and entering the eye of an un- 
occupied body, encounters — i. e., strikes against, the 
astral soul of the temporary occupant, gives it a shock 
and such a push that the occupant might be pushed out. 
Paralysis of the occupied body is even possible. Ex- 
treme caution must be used in entering a body, and one 
cannot thoroughly fit oneself to it throughout until the 
automatic movements of the circulation, breathing, etc., 
adjust themselves to the automatism of the occupier's 
own body — with which, however far distant, his projected 
astral body is most intimately related. I then lit a bur- 
ner of the chandelier overhead, but the occupier at once 
held a newspaper so as to shade the crown of the head 
from the light. Surprised, I asked for an explanation, 
and was told that it was even more dangerous to have a 
strong top light strike upon the crown of the head than 
to have light shine into the eyes." 

276 Old Diary Leaves 

I knew nothing then about the six vital centres {shat 
chakramas) of the body ; nor was I nware that the most 
important of them, the brahmardndhra, was under the 
parietal bones ; nor that it is the <:u.sloin in India to 
break the skull of the burning corjisc ;il that place I'l 
facilitate the withdrawal of the astral body of the do- 
ceased : moreover, I had not then read the story of 
S'ankardch;irya's leaving his own body and entering that 
of the deceased Rajah by that path of the soul. I simply 
saw what the MahdtmA did, and wondered over his ex- 
planation ; but now, in the fulness of time, the mystery 
is cleared up and the cases of New York and Amritapura 
are mutually related. Jiy the light of the latter and the 
teachings of Aryan occult science, one can more readily 
comprehend the mystery (jf the former. Whereas before 
all was dark, and we had not even a name at our disposnl 
to explain the fact, we can now see that it is ptjssiljle for 
any one versed in Voga to occupy the body of another 
living person, when the astral body of its owner has been 
withdrawn and the empty house is placed at the disposal 
of visiting friends. The bearing which this matter has 
upon the problem of H. P. B. is most evident ; as I shall 
try to show in the next chapter, 



THE first effect of proving the collaborate nature of 
Isis Unveiled, is to confirm our critical view of 
its registered author : she remains a mental prodigy, 
yet drops out of the literary class which includes such 
giants of acquired knowledge as Aristotle, Longinus, 
Buddaghosha, Hiouen Thsang,Alberuni, Mddhavichdrya, 
Nasireddin — the Persian philosopher and cyclopasdist — 
and in modern times, Leibnitz, Voltaire, Spencer, etc. 
The justness of her self-estimate is shown, and, without, 
ranking as erudite, she becomes an almost unique prob- 
lem among Western people. If the theory of Bacon's 
authorship of Shakespeare's plays be disproved, then 
Shakespeare's production of them, when his vagabond 
disposition and commonplace character are taken into 
account, rather supports than contradicts the theory that, 
like H. P. B., he was but an agent of greater, unseen, 
living intellects, who controlled his body and used it to 
write things far beyond his normal capacity. The com- 
parison is to his advantage, because we find in his works 


278 Old Diary Leaves 

a far deeper aquaintance with human nature and wider 
grasp of intuitive knowledge than in hers. His natural 
mind (or that which was drawn from) seems to have 
contained from the beginning all that he would ever be 
obliged to utilise ; whereas she appears to have been the 
subject of a distinct mental evolution. Take, for in- 
stance, her teachings on Re-incarnation, the strong foun- 
dation-stone of the ancient occult philosophy, which was 
affirmed in the Secret Doctrine and her other later writ- 
ings. When we worked on Isis it was neither taught us 
by the Mahdtmds, nor supported by her in literary con- 
troversies or private discussions of those earlier days. 
She held to, and defended, the theory that human souls, 
after death, passed on by a course of purificatory evolu- 
tion to other and more spiritualised planets. I have 
notes of a conversation between a Mahdtma and myself 
in which this same theory is affirmed. And this puzzles 
me most of all ; for, while it is quite conceivable that, 
either through imperfect cerebro-psychic training, or 
otherwise, she, the pupil and psychic agent, might not 
have known the solid philosophical basis of the Re-incar- 
nation theory, I can scarcely see how the like ignorance 
could extend to the Adept and Teacher. Is it possible 
that Re-incarnation was not taught this Adept by his 
Master, and that he, as well as H. P. B., had to learn it 
subsequently ? There are said to be sixty-three stages 
of Adeptship, and it is not impossible. There are, among 
them, I was told, men who are great natural psychics yet 
almost illiterate ; and at least one who, like Buddha's 

Re-incarnation 279 

favourite, An;uida, possesses no Su/t/kis, 3'et is so intui- 
tional as to be able to understand all esoteric writings at 
sight. My notes report the Teacher as telling me that 
" Souls go hence after death to other planets. Souls 
that are to be born on this Earth are waiting in other in- 
visible planets." These two statements agree with the 
latest teachings of H. P. B., the planets in question at 
either end of the soul's earthly habitation being members 
of our " chain of globes." But there is left a vast hiatus 
between the two extremes, that we now understand to be 
filled with the multitudinous evolutionary re-births of the 
travelling entity. Let the note stand as it is, but H. P. 
B., in Isis (Vol. I., p. 351) says most unequivocally. 

" We will now present a few fragments of this mys- 
terious doctrine of Re-incarnation — as distinct from 
transmigration — 7C'/ii\-/t 70- /i<i:'<- from an aut/w? ify. Re- 
incarnation, /. (•., the appearance of the same individual, 
or rather of his astral monad, twice on the same planet, 
is 7hit a rulf in fiatuir ; it is iin iwcr/fiti/i, like the terato- 
logical phenomenon of a two-headed infant." 

The cause of it, when it does occur is, she says, that 
the design of nature to produce a perfect human being 
has been interfered with, and therefore she must make 
another .attempt. Such exceptional interferences, H. P. 
B. explains, are the cases of abortion, of infants dying 
before a certain age, and of congenital and incurable 
idiocy. In such cases, the higher principles have not 
been able to unite themselves with the lower, and hence 
a perfect being has not been born. But — 

28o Old Diary Leaves 

" If reason has been so far developed as to become 
active and discriminative, there is no Re-incarnation on 
this Earth, for the three parts of the triune man have 
been united together, and he is capable of running the 
race. But when the new being has not passed beyond 
the condition of monad, or when, as in the idiot, the 
trinity has not been completed, the immortal spark which 
illuminates it has to re-enter on the earthly plane, as it 
was frustrated in its first attempt. Otherwise, the mor- 
tal or astral, and the immortal, or divine, souls could not 
progress in unison and pass onward to the sphere above." 

The italics are mine, and thus I was taught. My 
present belief is that of the Hindus and Buddhists. She 
told Mr. Walter R. Old — who is my informant — that she 
was not taught the doctrine of Re-incarnation until 1879 
— when we were in India. I willingly accept that state- 
ment, both because it tallies with our beliefs and writings 
in New York, and, because, if she knew it when we were 
writing Isis, there was no earthly reason why she should 
have misled me or others, even if she had so desired, 
which I do not believe. 

She and I believed, and taught orally as well as wrote 
that man is a trinity of physical body, astral body (soul 
— the Greek psuch^), and divine spirit. This will be 
found set forth in the first official communication made 
by us to the European reading public. It was an article 
entitled " The Views of the Theosophists," and appeared 
in xhs Spiritualist for December 7, 1877. In it, speak- 
ing for our whole party, I say : 

Re-incarnation 281 

■■ We believe that the man of flesh dies, decays, and 
goes to the crucible of evolution, to be worked over and 
over again ; that the astral man (or double, or soul), freed 
from physical imprisonment, is followed by the conse- 
quences of his earthly deeds, thoughts and desires. He 
either becomes purged of the last traces of earthly gross- 
ness, and, finally, after an incalculable lapse of time, is 
joined to his divine spirit, and lives forever as an entity, 
or, having been completely debased on earth, he sinks 
deeper into matter and is annihilated." 

I go on to say that " the man of pure life and spiritu- 
ality of aspiration would be drawn towards a more 
spiritual realm than this earth of ours and repelled by 
its influence " ; while, on the other hand, the vicious and 
thoroughly depraved person would have lost his spirit 
during life, be reduced to a duality instead of a trinity 
at the hour of death, and, upon passing out of the physi- 
cal body, become disintegrated ; its grosser matter going 
into the ground and its finer turning into a bktit, or " ele- 
mentar)'," " wandering in and about the habitations of 
men, obsessing sensitises to glut vicariously its depraved 
appetites, until its life is burnt out by their very intensit) 
and dissolution comes to crown the dreadful career." 

This was the sum and substance of our teaching at 
that time about the nature and destiny of man, and shows 
how infinitely far away from believing in Re-incarnation 
H. P. B. and I were then. If any one should be dis- 
posed to say that this letter of mine in the Spiriiualist 
represents only my personal views, and that neither the 

282 Old Diary Leaves 

Masters nor H. P. B. are responsible for my crudities, I 
shall just refer tliem to the issue of the Spiritualist for 
February 8, 1878,* where appears a letter from H. P. B. 
herself upon the general subject of my letter ; which 
had aroused a most animated discussion between the 
chief exponents of British Spiritualism on the one side, 
and C. C. Massey, John Storer Cobb, Prof. Alex. Wilder, 
Miss Kislingbury, Dr. C. Carter Blake, Gerald Massey 
and myself, on the other, and been called by M. A. 
(Oxon.) " a Theosophical rock hurled by the vigorous 
arm of the P. T. S. and creating a huge splash " in the 
unhealthy pool of trans-Atlantic Spiritualism. H. P. B.'s 
clarion, as usual, waked the echoes. She calls herself 
" the unattractive old party superficially known as H. P. 
Blavatsky " — a most significant phrase ; says that " the 
Colonel corresponds directly with Hindu scholars, and 
has from them a good deal more than he can get from 
so clumsy a preceptor as myself ; " and that she thinks 
I have "thrown out some hints worthy of the thoughtful 
consideration of the unprejudiced." A second letter 
from me in answer to M. A. (Oxon.) appeared in Febru- 
ary, and a very long, very powerful, and very explicit 
one from H. P. B., of date N. Y., January 14, 1878, did 
appear in the Spiritualist of February 8, of the same 
year. This whole letter is well worth reading. In it 
she says, a propos of the necessity that an Ego which has 
failed to unite itself with the physico-psychical duality of 

" Apparently the wrong date has been pasted above the cutting in 
our scrap-book. I think it must have been February i. 

Re-incarnation 2S3 

a child who prematurely dies, should re-incamate — 
" Man's cycle is not complete until he becomes individu- 
ally immortal. Xo one stage of probation and experi- 
ence can be skipped over. He must be a man before he 
can become a spirit. A dead child is a failure of nature 
— he must live again : and the same /•siic^,c- re-enters the 
physical plane through another birth. Such cjsis, together 
iL-ith t/:osc ■:■/ ccnrc-iita! idiots a'-:, as staUJ in " Is^is L'/i- 
z'cii'cd." the cp.Iy instaiuii cf kufnar: rc-irh\irnatii.m. Can 
an)-thing be plainer ? 

Our partj' left New York for India on Dec. 17, 1S7S, 
and a few days previously H. P. B. wrote to the Rcvuc 
Sn'ritt, of Paris, an article which appeared in that mag.i- 
zine, Tan. i, 1S79 ; it was in answer to sundrs' critics. 
She now describes man as four-principled, a " tetraktis ' 
or quatemar)". I translate : 

" Yes, ' for the Theosophists of Xew York, man is .- 
trinity, and not a dualitj".' He is, however, more than 
that : for, by adding the physical body, man is a Tcirak- 
tis. or quatemar}-. But, however supported in this par- 
ticular doctrine we may be by the greatest philosophers 
of ancient Greece, it is neither to Pythagoras, to Plato, 
nor, furthermore, to the celebrated Thtodidjktci of the 
school of Alexandria, that we owe it. We shaD speak 
further on of our Masters." 

After citing passages from various ancient authorities 
in support of the views presented, she says : " our Mas- 
ters [meaning those from whom we learnt the doctrine] 
axe Patanjali, Kapila, Kanada, all the systems and 

284 Old Diary Leaves 

schools of A'ryavarta which served as inexhaustible 
mines for the Greek philosophers, from Pythagoras to 
Plato." Not all the Indian schools, certainly, for among 
them the old sects of Charvakas and Brihaspatis denied 
the survival of man after death, and were almost exact 
prototypes of our modern Materialists. It is also to be 
noted that Patanjali, Kapila, and the other Masters she 
names, taught that Re-incarnation is the rule in Nature, 
while she and I declared it to be the exception. 

Ultimately, the doctrine of Re-incarnation was fully 
accepted and expounded, both in its exoteric sense and 
esoterically. Not publicly taught so early as 1879, how- 
ever, for it is not to be found in the first two volumes of 
the Theosophist, but only appears in the third, and then 
in connection with the Fragments of Occult Truth, a 
series of essays, chiefly by Mr. A. P. Sinnett, and based 
upon instructions given him by the Masters and by 
H. P. B. In its plain exoteric, or orthodox form, I had 
got it in Ceylon and embodied it in the Buddhist Cate- 
chism, of which the first edition, after passing through 
the ordeal of critical examination by the High Priest 
Sumangala Thero, appeared in July, 1881. The Cate- 
chism, of course, was only a synopsis of the doctrines 
of Southern Buddhism, not a proclamation of personal 
beliefs. The exposition of the Re-incarnation theory 
was rather meagre in the first edition ; but it was given 
at much greater length in the revised edition of 1882, 
where I defined the relation of the re-incarnated being 
of this birth to that of the preceding ones, and answered 
the question why we have no memory of experiences in 

Re-incarnation 28^ 

prior incarnations. A conversation with Sumingala 
Thero upon the morality of the theory of Karma, led 
me to frame the note defining the difference between 
Personality and Individualit) , between memory, 
or the recollection of things which pertain to the ordi- 
nary- waking consciousness, and spiritual memory, which 
has to do with the experiences of the Higher Self and 
its Individu.ility. The distinction had not previously 
been made, but it was at once accepted and has been 
propagated by aU our chief Theosophical writers since 
that time. H. P. B. adopted it, and has introduced it in 
her X"rv to Thccsi>fhy (pp. 1J4 and 150), with enlarge- 
ments and illustrations. These are historical facts, and 
their bearing upon the present discussion is evident. 

H. P. B.'s first published declaration that Re-incarna- 
tion was an element in Theosopliical belief occurs in the 
leading article of the tirst number ever issued of the 
Theosofhiit {Wh.ii is Th^osv^-y ? Vol. I., p. 3. October, 
1S79). It was but a bare allusion to the subject and 
nothing more. 

" Theosophy," she says, "believes sl&o \n Anastasis, 
or continued existence, and in transmigration (evolu- 
tion), or a series of ch.inges in the soul, which can be 
defended and explained on strict philosophical princi- 
ples ; and onlv by m.aking a distinction between Param- 
<j.'";.y (transcendental, supreme soul) and j'h\ii":a (ani- 
mal, or conscious soul), of the Yedautins."* This is 

* AnjistjisL' di>e* not mean Re-incarnation, bat a raising from the 
dead of the same person : and p.: .;.').; is not the animal sonl — as 
even all youiiLrer Theosophi--is are a«are. 

286 Old Diary Leaves 

extremely vague, and does little towards solving the dif- 
ficulty. In a foot-note to this passage, however, she 
promises a series of articles on The World's Great The- 
osopkisis, in which, says she, " we intend showing that 
from Pythagoras, who got his wisdom in India, down to 
our best known modern philosophers and Theosophists 
— David Hume and Shelley, the English poet, and the 
spiritists of France, included- — many believed and yet 
believe in metempsychosis, or Re-incarnation of the 
soul, etc." But she does not clearly say what is her 
own belief. The promised series of articles most unfor- 
tunately never appeared, though it may have been the 
germ of her idea to devote one of the new volumes 
of The Secret Doctrine to an account of the Great 

Mr. Sinnett's famous series of essays entitled Frag- 
ments of Occult Truth was begun by H. P. B. in No. i, 
of Vol. III., of the Theosophist, as an answer to Mr, 
Terry, of Melbourne, who had taken exception to the 
anti-spiritualistic views of Theosophists. In the first 
Fragment, she reiterates the teaching of New York, that 
the soul at death passes into another world, " the so- 
called world of effects (in reality, a state and not a 
place), and there, purified of much of its material taints, 
evolves out of itself a new Ego, to be re-born (after a 
brief period of freedom and enjoyment) in the next 
higher world of causes, an objective world similar to this 
present globe of ours, but higher in the spiritual scale, 
where matter and material tendencies play a far less 

Re-incarnation 287 

important part than here." Re-incarnation is herein 
postulated, but not on this globe nor by the same Ego, 
but by another one which generates out of our present 
one in an interplanetary state. In Fragment No. j 
{TkeosoJ>hist for Sept., 1882), the new Ego is said after 
passing its normal time — according to its merit, which 
agrees with the doctrine taught by S'ri Krishna, in the 
Bhagavadgita — in a state of felicity (Uevachan) either 
to pass on to the " next superior planet," or return for 
re-birth on this globe " if it has not completed its ap- 
pointed tale of earth-lives." Previously to this there 
had been nothing published about an appointed number 
of Re-incarnations, either on this globe or others, but 
only the outlines sketched of a psychic pilgrimage, or 
evolutionary progress from star to star, of a Divine Self 
which clothed itself with a new soul-body in each palin- 

In 1880, we two visited Simla, and Mr. A. O. Hume 
enjoyed the good fortune, which had previously fallen 
to Mr. Sinnett's lot, of getting into correspondence with 
our Mahatmds. H. P. B. revisited Simla without me in 
1881, and the two friends above-named received in due 
time from the Masters the Re-incarnation theory. Mr. 
Sinnett expounded it in Fragment No. 4 {Theosopkisi, 
Vol. IV., No. I, October, 1882), where he laid the basis 
of the doctrine of terrestrial Re-incarnations in a series 
of major and minor, or root and sub-races, and the ex- 
tension of the process to the other planets of a chain to 
which the Earth belongs. Mr. Hume did the same in 

2 88 Old Diary Leaves 

his Hints on Esoteric Theosophy (Calcutta, August, 1882), 
where he synthetically says that " man has many com- 
plete rounds to make of the entire cycle (chain, he 
means) of the planets. And in each planet, in each 
round, he has many lives to live. At a certain stage of 
his evolution, when certain portions of his less material 
elements are fully developed, he becomes morally re- 
sponsible." (Op. cit., p. 52.) 

Thus, six years after the date of my New York con- 
versation with the Mahitmi, the fundamental and neces- 
sary idea of Re-incarnation was launched on the sea of 
modern Western thought from the congenial land of its 
primeval birth. 

I have been obliged to trace its evolution within our 
lines at the risk of a small digression, as it was necessary 
for the future welfare of the Society to show the appar- 
ent baselessness of the theory that our present grand 
block of teaching had been in H. P. B.'s possession from 
the beginning. That theory I consider pernicious and 
without foundation. If I am wrong, I shall be most 
happy to be corrected. To admit it would involve the 
necessity of conceding that she had knowingly and wil- 
fully lent herself to deception and the teaching of un- 
truth in Isis, and later. I believe that she wrote then as 
she did later, exactly according to her lights, and that 
she was just as sincere in denying Re-incarnation in 
i876-'78 as she was in affirming it after 1882. Why she 
and I were permitted to put the mis-statement into Isis, 
and, especially, why it was made to me by the Mahatmd, 

Re-incarnation 289 

I cannot explain, unless I was the victim of glamour in 
believing that I talked with a Master on the evening in 
question. So let it pass. The Masters could give H. P. 
B. whatever they chose by dictation, they could write it 
themselves with her hand by occupying her physical 
body, and they could enable me to write by giving me 
hints and outlines and then helping my intuitions. Yet, 
notwithstanding all this, they certainly did not teach us 
what we now accept as the truth about Re-incarnation ; 
nor bid us keep silent about it ; nor resort to any vague 
generalities capable of being now twisted into an appar- 
ent agreement with our present views ; nor interpose to 
prevent us from writing and teaching the heretical and 
unscientific idea that, save in certain few cases, the 
human entity was not, and could not, be re-incarnated 
on one and the same planet.* 

To return to the matter of the occupancy {dves'a) of 
H. P. B.'s body. There was one collateral proof con- 
tinually thrusting itself upon one's notice, if one but 
paid attention to it. Let us say that the Master A or B 
had been " on guard " an hour or more, had been working 
on Ist's, alone or jointly with me, and was at a given 
moment saying something to me or, if third parties were 
present, to one of them. Suddenly she (he ?) stops 
speaking, rises and leaves the room, excusing herself for 

* Some valued friends have tried to persuade me to omit all the 
foregoing argument about the genesis of the Re-incarnation idea 
within our movement, but I cannot see it as my duty to do so. I 
will no more suppress important facts than I will make false state- 

290 Old Diary Leaves 

a moment on some pretext to strangers. She presently 
returns, looks around as any new arrival would upon en- 
tering a room where there was company, makes herself a 
fresh cigarette, and says something which has not the 
least reference to what had been talked about when she 
left the room. Some one present, wishing to keep her 
to the point, asks her kindly to explain. She shows em- 
barrassment and inability to pick up the thread ; perhaps 
expresses an opinion flatly contradicting what she had 
just affirmed, and when taken to task, becomes vexed 
and says strong things ; or, when told that she had said 
so-and-so, appears to take an introspective glance and 
says, " Oh yes : excuse me," and goes on with her sub- 
ject. She was sometimes as quick as lightning in these 
changes, and I myself, forgetting her multiplex person- 
ality, have often been very irritated for her seeming ina- 
bility to keep to the same opinion, and her bold denial 
that she had not said what she had certainly said plainly 
enough, the moment before. In due time, it was ex- 
plained to me that it takes time, after entering another's 
living body, to link on one's own consciousness with the 
brain memory of the preceding occupier, and that if one 
tries to continue a conversation before this adjustment 
is complete, just such mistakes as the above may occur. 
This accords with what the Mahdtmi told me in New 
York about occupancy, and with the description of the 
way in which, we were told in Shankaravijdya* Shankara 

* In a recent Calcutta lecture on " The Kinship between Hindu- 
ism and Buddhism " I show that the best Orientalists regard Shanka- 

Re-incarnation 291 

entered the defunct Rajah Amaraki's body : " entered 
and by slow degrees occupied the whole body of the dead 
down to its very feet." The explanation of the gradual 
blending of the two jtvas in one steady heart and other 
bodily automatism (Cf. XVI.) extends to the matter of 
the two consciousnesses, and until this is perfected, 
there must be just such a confusion of ideas, assertions, 
and recollections as I have above described, and as the 
majority of H. P. B.'s visitors must have been puzzled 
by. Sometimes, when we were alone, has either the de- 
parting Somebody said : " I must put this into the brain 
so that my successor may find it there," or the incoming 
Somebody after greeting me with a friendly word, asked 
me what was the subject of discussion before the 
" change." 

I have noted above how various Mahdtmds, in writing 
to me about H. P. B. and her body, spoke of the latter 
as a shell occupied by one of themselves. In my Diary 
of 1878, I find entered under date of October 12, and in 
the H. P. B. manuscript of Mahdtmd " M," the follow- 
ing : " H. P. B. talked with W. alone until 2 after mid- 
night. He confessed he saw three distinct individual- 
ities in her. He knows it. Does not wish to say so to 
Olcott for fear H. S, O. will make fun of him ! ! ! " 
The underscorings and points of exclamation are copied 
literally. The "W." mentioned was Mr. Wimbridge, 
who was then our guest. To account for an entry made 

ravij&ya as an old spurious work. I quote it now merely for the sake 
of the description of the dves'a process. 

292 Old Diary Leaves 

by another person in my private Diary, I must explain 
that when I left New York on professional business, 
which I had to do several times in that year, the daily 
record was written up by " H. P. B.," the noun of multi- 
tude. In the entry of the following day (Oct. 13) the 
same hand, after specifying the seven visitors who called 
that evening, writes of one of them : " Dr. Pike, look- 
ing at H. P. B. several times, started and said that no 
one in the world impressed him so much. Once he sees 
in H. P. B. a girl of 16, at another an old woman of 100, 
and again a man with a beard ! ! " On Oct. 22, the 
Same hand writes : " H. P. V>. left them [our visitors of 
that evening] in the dining-room and retired with H. S. 

O. to the library to write letters. N [a certain Ma- 

hitmd] left watch and in came S [another adept] ; 

the latter with orders from .'. to complete all by the first 
day of December" [for our departure for India]. On 
November 9, in another modified H. P. B. script, is writ- 
ten : " Body sick and no hot-water to bathe it. Nice 
caboose." November 12, in the " M " script: " H. P. 
B. played a trick on me by suddenly fainting, to the 
great dismay of Bates and Wim. Used the greatest 
will-power to put up the body on its legs." November 
14, in same handwriting : "N— : — decamped and M. 
walked in [from and into the H. P. B. body is meant]. 
Came with definite orders from .'. Have to go at the 
latest from 15 to 20 Dec. [to India]." November 29, 
another Mahdtmd writes that he had " answered the 
Russian Aunt " — /. e., the beloved aunt of H. P. B. 

Re-incarnation 293 

Finally, not to dwell upon one subject too long, on Nov. 
30, a third Mahatma writes : " Belle Mitchell came at 

12 and took away the S [MahAtma M.] for a walk 

and drive. Went to Macy's. Had to materialise rupees. 
H. P. B. came home at 4, etc." I have also various 
letters from the Mahatmis alluding to H. P. B. in her 
own individual capacity, sometimes speaking very frankly 
about her peculiarities, good and bad, and was once 
sent, by the Masters, with written instructions, on a con- 
fidential mission to another city to bring about certain 
events necessary for her spiritual evolution. I have the 
document still. One quite long letter that I received 
in 1879, while in Rajputana, most strangely alters her 
sex, speaks of her in the male gender, and confounds 
her with Mahitma M.— known as our Guru. It says — 
about a first draft of the letter itself which had been 
written but not sent me : " Owing to certain expres- 
sions therein, the letter was stopped on its way by order 
of our Brother H. P. B. As you are not under my di- 
rect guidance but his (hers), we have naught to say, 
either of us ; etc.'' And again : " Our Brother H. P. B. 
rightly remarked at Jeypore that, etc." It is a noble 
communication throughout, and if it were pertinent to our 
present theme, I should feel tempted to publish it, so as 
to show the high quality of the correspondence that for 
years went on between my blessed Teachers and myself. 
It was in this particular letter that I was told, in answer 
to my expressed desire to retire from the world and go 
and live with them, that, " The only means available and 

294 Old Diary Leaves 

at hand for you to reach us, is through the Theosophical 
Society" which I was abjured to consolidate, push for- 
ward and build up ; I must learn to be unselfish. My 
correspondent adds : " None of us live for ourselves, 
we all live for humanity." This was the spirit of all my 
instructions, this is the idea inculcated throughout Isis 
Unveiled. Let the literary faults of that book be what 
they may ; let its author be charged with plagiarism or 
not ; the sum and substance of its argument is that man 
is of a complex nature, animal at one extreme, divine at 
the other ; and that the only real and perfect existence, 
the only one that is free from illusions, pain and sorrow, 
because in it, their cause — Ignorance — does not exist, is 
that of the spirit, the Highest Self. The book incites 
to pure and high living, to expansion of mind and uni- 
versality of tenderness and sympathy ; it shows there is 
a Path upwards, and that it is accessible to the wise who 
are brave ; it traces all modern knowledge and specula- 
tion to archaic sources ; and, affirming the past and 
present existence of Adepts and of occult science, 
affords us a stimulus to work and an ideal to work up to. 
Upon its appearance the book made such a sensation 
that the first edition was exhausted within ten days.* 

* 'D^iQ Americajt Bookseller {Oci.oh&v, 1877), says : "The sale , . . 
is unprecedented for a work of its kind, the entire edition having 
been exhausted within ten days of the date of publication. In 1783, 
Godfrey Higgins published \n5 Anacalypsis^ a work of similar charac- 
ter, and although only 200 copies were printed, at the death of the 
author, a number of years after, many copies remained unsold, and 
were disposed of in bulk by his executors to a London bookseller. 
The work is now exceedingly rare and readily brings $100 per 

Re-incarnation 295 

The critics, on the whole, dealt kindly with it. Dr. 
Shelton Mackenzie, one of the most capable ones of the 
day, writes that " it is one of the most remarkable works 
for originality of thought, thoroughness of research, 
depth of philosophic exposition, and variety and extent of 
learning that has appeared for very many years " 
{Phila. Press, October 9, 1887). The literary critic of 
the X. Y. Herald (Sep. 30, 1877), says that independent 
minds " will welcome the new publication as a most 
valuable contribution to philosophical literature," and 
that it " will supplement the Anacalypsis of Godfrey 
Higgins. There is a great resemblance between the 
works. . . . With its striking peculiarities, its auda- 
city, its versatility and the prodigious \ ariety of subjects 
which it notices and handles, it is one of the remarkable 
productions of the century." Dr. G. Bloede, an erudite 
German scholar, says that, '' under all considerations, it 
will range among the most important contributions to 
the literature of the modern science of the spirit, and be 
worth the attention of every thinking student of this." 

copy. The woild has grown older since the days of Higgins, and 
Madame Blavatsky's book is of greater interest ; but still the demand 
for it is quite remarkable, and far beyond the expectations of its pub- 
lishers.'" Perfectly true ; and so surprised and pleased ^\as Mr. 
liouton, that on Sunday, Feb. lo, 1878, in my presence, he offered 
her $5,000 as copyriglit on an edition of a book in one volume, if 
she would write it, which should a little more unveil Isis. He in- 
tended to print only 100 copies and make the price $100 per copy. 
Though she needed money badly enough, she refused the offer on the 
ground that she was not permitted at that time to divulge any more 
arcane secrets than she had done in Isis. Mr. Bouton is still living 
.lud can corroborate this statement. 

2g6 Old Diary Leaves 

Some of the notices were flippant and prejudiced 
enough to make it clear that the critics had not read the 
book. For instance, the Springfield Republican said it 
was " a large dish of hash " ; The N. Y. Sun classifies it 
with the similar works of past times as " discarded rub- 
bish " ; the Editor of the N. Y. Times wrote to Mr. 
Bouton that he was sorry they could not touch Isis Un- 
veiled, as they " have a holy horror of Mme. Blavatsky 
and her letters " ; the N. Y. Tribune says her learning 
is " crude and undigested " and " her incoherent account 
of Brahmanism and Buddhism, suggests a hint of the 
presumption rather than the information of the writer." 
And so on and so forth. The weighty fact, however, is 
that the book has become a classic — as Mr. Quaritch 
prophesied to Mr. Bouton that it would ; * has gone 
through a number of editions ; and now, after the lapse 
of seventeen years, is in demand all over the world. When 
it was ready for publication I, of course, did what I 
could to bring it to the notice of my personal acquaint- 
ance ; and I remember shortly afterwards meeting one 
of them — a leading legal functionary — in the street, and 
having him shake his fist at me in a friendly way, and 
say, " I have a crow to pick with you." " And why .? " 
I asked. " Why ? Because you made me buy Isis Un- 

* Mr. Quaritch writes to Mr. Bouton from London, December 27, 
1877, in a letter which the latter kindly gave us as an encouraging 
forecast: "The book will evidently make its way in England and 
become a classic. I am very glad to be the English agent." And, 
I may add, we were more glad that he should be ; knowing his repu- 
tation for indomitable energy and high-mindedness. 



veiled, and I found it so fascinating that my law cases 
are getting into arrears, and I have been sitting up 
nearly the whole of the past two nights to read it. Not 
only that, but she makes me feel what a lot of common- 
place men we are in comparison with those Eastern 
mystics and philosophers she writes so charmingly 
about." The first money received for a copy of Isis 
was sent me by a lady of Styria with her order ; we kept 
it " for luck," and it now hangs, framed, on the walls of 
the Theosophist office at Adyar. 

The truest thing ever said about Isis was the expres- 
sion of an American author that it is " a book with a 
revolution in it." 


AMONG the public events which contributed to give 
notoriety to our Society in its early days, was the 
rescue of a party of pauper Arabs from threatened star- 
vation, and their shipment to Tunis. It was theosophi- 
cal only in the limited sense of being humanitarian, 
hence an act of altruism ; and all altruistic endeavours 
are essentially theosophical. Moreover, in this case, 
the element of religion was a factor. The story, in 
brief, is as follows : 

One Sunday morning, in July, 1876, H. P. B. and I, 
being alone in the " Lamasery," read in the morning 
papers that a party of nine ship-wrecked Mussulman 
Arabs had been landed from the schooner Kate Foster, 
just arrived from Trinidad. They were penniless and 
friendless, could not speak a word of English, and had 
wandered about the streets for two days without food, 
until the secretary of the Turkish Consul gave them 
some loaves of bread, and, by order of His Honor the 
Mayor of New York, temporary shelter had been given 


Early Days of the Society 299 

them at Bellevue Hospital. Unfortunately for them, 
certain New Regulations about emigrants had been 
adopted in the March preceding by the Commissioners 
of Public Charities and the Emigration Board, which 
made both those public bodies powerless to deal with 
cases like the present. The papers stated that the Arabs 
had brought no documents with them to prove their 
nationality, and thereby fix upon some foreign Consul 
the responsibility for their custody and relief ; in vain 
they had been taken to the consuls of Turkey and 
France ; and, unless private relief were forthcoming, a 
bitter prospect was before them. How well I remember 
the scene when we had read the narrative ! H. P. B. 
and I stood shoulder-to-shoulder, looking out of the 
south front window, each deploring the lot of the poor 
cast-aways. The fact which appealed strongest to our 
feelings was that they were Mussulmans — Heathen, 
whose religion placed them outside the bounds of ready 
sympathy in a community of Christians, who, to say 
nothing about popular prejudice, had too frequent ap- 
peals to relieve the wants of their co-religionists. These 
unfortunates had a right, then, to the kind offices of 
fellow Heathen like ourselves, and then and there it was 
decided that I should go to work. The result was that 
I succeeded, under the favour of the Mayor of New 
York, in collecting some $2000, with which their neces- 
sities were supplied, and they were sent to Tunis under 
charge of a member of our Society. All the details will 
be found in the Theosophist for September, 1893. 

300 Old Diary Leaves 

As said in a previous chapter, among the most de- 
lightful reminiscences of those early theosophic years is 
our correspondence with thoughtful, cultured persons of 
both sexes, of whom two are most lovingly remembered. 
They are Charles Carleton Massey and William Stainton 
Moseyn (or, as corrupted, Moses). The general topic 
of our correspondence was mentioned above (Cf. Chap- 
ter IV.), and the names of these two loyal friends can 
never pass out of my memory. We, of course, repre- 
sented the conservative party of Oriental Occultism ; 
Stainton Moseyn (Moses) was a progressive, truth-seek- 
ing, highly-educated Spiritualist, taking him all-in-all 
the ablest man among them ; and Massey was between 
the two extremes, a candid and convinced investigator 
of the phenomena, with a deeply metaphysical mental 
bias, ready to meet half-way any new facts or ideas we 
might put forward. The interchange of letters — some 
so long as to be rather essays — continued between us 
four during several years, and our discussions covered a 
very wide range of interesting, important, even vital 
questions relating to psychological subjects. The one 
most thoroughly threshed out was, I fancy, that of the 
Elemental Spirits, their place in nature, and their rela- 
tions with humanity. I had lightly touched upon this 
question in our first European manifesto above alluded 
to, but it was now gone into in all its chief bearings. I 
deeply regret that those in charge of Stainton Moseyn's 
papers, have not yet sent me those which might have 
helped me in my present work, as I might have made it 

Early Days of the Society 301 

much more interesting by comparing H. P. B.'s and my 
letters with the replies of our friends, which I have pre- 
served. S. M. had gone into the investigation of medi- 
umistic phenomena with the sole purpose of satisfying 
himself whether they were real or not, but shortly found 
himself a medium despite himself, and the subject of 
phenomena of the most extraordinary kind. By night and 
by day, whether alone or in company, they would occur, 
and soon all the scientific and philosophical ideas he had 
brought away from Oxford, were scattered to the four 
winds, and he had to accept new theories of matter and 
force, man and nature. His revered friend and benefac- 
tress, Mrs. Speer, gave in Light, weekly reports of the se- 
ances held by S. M. at Dr. Speer's house, and, I venture to 
say, a more interesting record of mediumship has never 
been written, for, in past ages or the present, there has 
hardly ever been a more gifted medium than my heart- 
brother, now dead and gone. His pre-eminence consisted 
in the surprising variety of his phenomena, which were 
both physical and psychical and all highly instructive, 
added to his trained mental endowments, which reflected 
themselves in the quality of the psychically transmitted 
intelligence, and his dogged determination to believe 
nothing taught him by the alleged spirits which he could 
not perfectly understand. The major part of these 
teachings he received by automatic writing through his 
own hand, just as Mr. Stead seems now to be getting his 
own spirit-teachings from Julia ; he might give his 
whole attention to reading a book or conversation, but 

302 Old Diary Leaves 

his disengaged hand would go on writing and writing by 
the half-hour together, and when he turned his eyes upon 
the pages thus covered, he would find original thoughts, 
conveying new ideas foreign to his own beliefs, or suc- 
cessfully answering his questions previously put, per- 
haps, on another occasion. He was always convinced, 
and vehemently so declared in his letters to us, that the 
intelligence controlling his hand was not his own ; neither 
his waking or latent consciousness, but just simply a 
spirit or spirits ; he claimed to know them perfectly by 
sight (clairvoyant), speech (clairaudient), and writing, as 
unmistakably as he knew any living person. We, on the 
other hand, urged that the question was not yet proven, 
and that there was at least an even chance that his " Im- 
perator," or chief spirit-teacher, was his latent self, and 
that his circle phenomena were produced by Elementals 
coming for the time being under the dominion of his 
own masterful will. It appeared upon comparing notes 
that several of his most striking mediumistic phenomena 
were almost identical with those with which H. P. B. 
was edifying us in New York, and, since hers were ad- 
mittedly produced by her subject Elementals, I could 
not see why his might not be also. Among these were 
the ringing of sweet " fairy bells " in the air ; the pro- 
duction of delicious scents in the air and as exudations 
from the psychic's body, which, with H. P. B., bedewed 
the palms of her hands, and in S. M.'s case the scalp of 
his head ; lights floating through the air ; precipitations 
of writing on surfaces beyond the operator's reach ; ap- 

Early Days of the Society 303 

ports of gems and other objects ; air-born music ; the 
possession by each of gems which changed colour and 
grew dull or black when the possessor fell ill ; the dis- 
integration of crayons or leads to be used in precipitated 
writings ; identical Oriental perfumes perceived when 
certain invisible intelligences versed in occult science 
were present ; Oxon's perceiving in the astral light glow- 
ing points of coloured light arranged in a triangle so as 
to form the mystic symbol of the Eastern Lodge of our 
Mahatmas ; and, finally, the power of leaving the physi- 
cal body in the " double,'' retaining consciousness and 
resuming bodily occupancy at the end of the soul-flight. 
So close a resemblance in experiences would naturally 
create a strong mutual interest between the two great 
psychics, and naturally enough S. M. was most eager to 
profit by any instructions or hints that H. P. B. could 
give him as to how he might improve his knowledge of 
the other world and gain that complete control over his 
psychical nature which the completed training for adept- 
ship implies. What effect our interchange of views had 
upon S. M.'s mind and the teachings of " Imperator " to 
the Speer circle, will be considered in the next chapter. 
I shall also have something to say with respect to the 
view taken by educated Hindus as to the danger and 
puerility of psychical phenomena, whether produced by 
mediums or mdntrikas — possessors of charms of power. 


THE poles are scarcely farther apart than the views 
of Western Spiritualists and Asiatics with respect 
to communion with the dead. The former encourage 
it, often try to develop mediumship in themselves 
or their family members to enjoy it, support many 
journals and publish many books to tell about and dis- 
cuss their phenomena, and cite the latter as proofs of 
the scientific basis of the doctrine of a future life. Asi- 
atics, on the contrary, discourage these necromantic dab- 
blings as soul-debaucheries, and affirm that they work 
incalculable evil both upon the dead and the living ; 
obstructing the normal evolution of man's spirit and 
delaying the acquirement of gnandm, the highest knowl- 
edge. In Europe and America one often meets around 
the seance-table the noblest, purest, most learned, as 
well as their opposites ; in the East, the mediums and 
sorcerers are patronised only by Pariahs and other de- 
graded castes, as a general rule. At the West, in these 


Conflicting Views 305 

latter days, families usually feel glad rather than sorry 
if a medium is discovered in their household, whereas 
in India it is thought a disgrace, a calamity, something 
to deplore and to abate as soon as possible. 

The Hindu, the Buddhist, the Zoroastrian, the Mus- 
sulman, are of one mind in the above respect, all being 
influenced by ancestral tradition as well as by their 
sacred writings. Dealings with the dead are not alone 
discountenanced, but also the exhibition of one's own 
psychical powers, whether congenital or developed later 
by ascetic training. The Indian Brahmin would, there- 
fore, look with disfavour both upon the phenomena of 
M. A. Oxon, the medium, and those of H. P. B., the 
educated thaumaturgist. Not caring for the problems 
of Western psychology as intellectual stimuli, and hav- 
ing forms of religion which start with the basic hypoth- 
esis of spirit, they place but a minimum stress upon the 
psychic phenomena as proofs of immortality, loathe the 
obsessed medium as spiritually impure, and hold in 
diminished respect those who, possessing siddkis, vulgar- 
ise them by display. The development of a long list of 
siddhis occurs naturally and spontaneously in the prog- 
ress of Yogic training, of which only eight, Anima, 
Mahima, Laghima, etc., — the Ashta Siddhis, in short — 
relate to the higher spiritual state ; the other eighteen 
or more pertain to the astral plane and our relations to 
it and to the plane of this life. Black magicians and 
beginners have to do with these ; the progressed Adepts 
of White Magic with the nobler group. It is to be ob- 

3o6 Old Diary Leaves 

served, then, that while H. P. B.'s phenomena com- 
manded the adoring wonder of her Western pupils and 
other intimate friends, and caused the malignant scep- 
ticism of her opponents, they actually lowered her in the 
opinion of the orthodox pundits and ascetics of India 
and Ceylon, as marking an inferior spiritual evolution. 
With them, there was no question of the possible genu- 
ineness of the marvels, for all such are recognised and 
catalogued in their Scriptures ; the mental aura of a 
Lankester would asphyxiate them. At the same time, 
while the display of psychical phenomena in public or 
before the vulgar is condemned, the knowledge that a 
religious teacher possesses them adds to his sancity, as 
being signs of his interior development ; but the rule 
is that they are not to be shown by a teacher even to 
his pupils before they have become so versed in spiritual 
philosophy as to be able to understand them. 

In the KuUavagga, v., 8, I., is related tht story of the 
sandalwood bowl of the Setthi of R%agaha. He had 
had a bowl carved out of a block of sandalwood, and 
lifted it high up into the air on the top of a bamboo 
tied to a succession of other bamboos, and then offered 
it as a gift to any Sramafia or Brahman possessed of 
psychical powers {Iddhi) who could levitate himself and 
get it down. A renowned monk named Findala. Bhar- 
advaga accepted the challenge, rose into the air and 
brought down the bowl, after going "thrice round 
Rdg'agaha in the air." The onlookers, a great con- 
course, fell to shouting and doing him reverence, which 

Conflicting Views 307 

noise coming to the ears of the Buddha, he convened a 
private meeting of his diSciples and rebuked Piw^ala. 

" This is improper,'' said he. " Not according to 
rule, unsuitable, unworthy of a Sramana, unbecoming, 
and ought not to be done. . . . Just like a woman 
who displays herself for the sake of a miserable piece of 
money, have you, for the sake of a miserable wooden 
pot displayed before the laity the superhuman quality 
of your miraculous power of Iddhi. This will not con- 
duce either to the conversion of the unconverted, or to 
the increase of the converted ; but rather to those who 
have not been converted remaining unconverted, and to 
the turning back of those who have been converted." He 
then made this imperative rule: "You are not,0 Bhikkus, 
to display before the laity the superhuman power of 
Iddhi." {Vide Sacred Books of the East, Vol. xx., p. 79.) 

In Kullavagga, vii., 4, 7, Devadutta is said to have 
" come to a stop on his way (to Arahatship), because he 
had already attained to some lesser thing " (pothu_g-^an- 
ika iddhi, or psychical powers) — and being satisfied thai 
he had reached the summit of development. 

In Dr. Rijendraldla Mitra's note to Aphorism xxviii., 
of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, speaking about the devel- 
oped psychical powers {siddhis), he says : 

" The perfections described are of the world, worldly, 
required for worldly purposes, but useless for higher 
meditation, having isolation for its aim. Nor are they 
simply useless, but positively obstructive, for they inter- 
fere with the even tenor of calm meditation." 

3o8 Old Diary Leaves 

It is not widely understood that the developed psychi- 
cal powers, covering the whole range of sublimated de- 
grees of sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, intuition 
(prophetic, retrospective, and contemporary), etc., bear 
to the awakened individuality a relation similar to that 
which the ordinary five senses do to the physical self, or 
personality. Just as one must learn to restrain one's 
perceptions of external things through the avenues of 
sense, to concentrate one's whole thought upon some 
deep problem of science or philosophy, so must the 
would-be gndnij or sage, control the activity of his de- 
veloped clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc., if he would 
not have his object defeated by the wandering of his 
thought into the bypaths they open up. I have never 
seen this point clearly stated before, yet it is most im- 
portant to bear in mind. Through ignorance of this 
rule Swedenborg, Davis, the Catholic Saints and re- 
ligious visionaries of all other sects have, as it were, 
staggered, clairvoyantly drunk, through the picture- 
galleries of the Astral Light ; seeing some things that 
were and creating others that were not until they begot 
them ; then giving out mangled prophecies, imagined 
revelations, bad counsel, false science, and misleading 

Asiatics throng to a possessor or reputed possessor of 
siddhis from the most selfish motives — to get sons from 
barren wives ; cures for diseases, often the fruit of vice ; 
recover lost valuables ; influence the minds of masters 
to favour them ; and to learn the future. They call this 

Conflicting Views 309 

" asking the blessings of the Mihatma," but no one is 
deceived by the euphuism in the least, and in ninety- 
nine cases out of a hundred, the begging hypocrite is 
dismissed unsatisfied. Even I, in my humble experi- 
ence, came to know the meanness of this class, for out 
of the thousands of clamorous sick persons that I healed 
or relieved in my experimental researches of 1881, I 
doubt if one hundred were really grateful ; and before 
the year was up, I had practically learnt how a Yogi 
must feel about exhibiting his psychical powers. Truly, 
indeed, does the Sage declare in Suta Samhita that the 
true Guru is not he who teaches one the physical 
sciences, who confers worldly pleasures, who trains one's 
powers until he may reach the gandharvas or develop the 
siddhis, for all these are sources of trouble and sorrow : 
the real Teacher and Master is he who imparts the 
knowledge of Brahman. This is taught likewise in 
Chandogya, Brahadaranya, and other Upanishads, where 
it is said that while the Yogi can by will-power make or 
destroy worlds, call to him pitris, gandharvas, and other 
spiritual beings, enjoy the power of Ishwara in unalloyed 
sathwa, yet he should avoid all these vanities as tending 
to foster the sense of separateness and as being hostile 
to the acquisition of true gndnam. As for voluntarily 
consorting with the denizens of the astral spheres, in- 
voking their favours and submitting to their behests, no 
right-minded, well-informed Asiatic would even dream 
of it. Sri Krishna sums it up most concisely in that 
famous verse of the GHa (Ch. IX.) : " Those who worship 

3IO Old Diary Leaves 

(invoke, make pujd to) the Devatas (higher elementals) 
go to them (after death) ; those who worship the Pitris, 
go to the Pitris. The worshippers of the Bhdtas (here 
defined by S'ankara as the lowest nature-spirits ; but the 
word is also a synonym of Pisachas, meaning the souls 
of the dead or astral shells) go to the BhiUas. Only my 
worshippers (?'. s., the devotees of gndnam, the highest 
spiritual knowledge), come to me." To repeat, then 
H. P. B. would be respected as possessing siddhis, but 
blamed for showing phenomena ; while M. A. Oxon 
would be looked down upon as the medium of Pisachas 
and Bhtitas, gifted as he may have been in mind, highly 
educated as the University may have made him, pure 
and unselfish as may have been his motives. 

So much for the Asiatic view of our case. As for my- 
self, I was through-and-through a Westerner in my way 
of looking at the wonders of H. P. B. and Stainton 
Moseyn. They were to me supremely important as 
psychical indications and as scientific problems. While I 
could not solve the riddle of her complex entity, I was 
convinced that the forces in and behind H, P. B. and 
her phenomena were skilfully handled by living persons 
who knew Psychology as a science, and by its practice 
had gained power over the elemental races. In Stainton 
Moseyn's case there was an equal obscurity. His rooted 
idea was that his teachers, " Imperator," " Kabbila " 
[Kapila?], " Mentor," " Magus," " Sade " [Sadi ?], et al, 
were all disincarnate human spirits ; some very ancient, 
some less so, but all wise and beneficent. They not only 

Conflicting Views 311 

permitted but insisted that he should use his reason and 
work his own way upward ; and with tireless patience 
answered his questions, solved his doubts, helped to 
develop his spiritual insight, aided him to project his 
astral body, and, by multifarious marvels, proved the 
nature of matter and force and the possibility of con- 
trolling natural phenomena : moreover, they taught him 
that a system of impartation of knowledge by teacher to 
pupil existed throughout the Cosmos, in ordinated stages 
of mental and spiritual development : like the classes in 
a school or college. In all these respects his teachings 
were identical with my own ; and he never could con- 
vince me that, if not the same group, at least the same 
kind of Masters were occupying themselves in forming 
these two reformatory and evolutionary centres of New 
York and London. What a noble soul animated his 
body ; how pure a heart, how high an aim, how deep a 
devotion to truth ! At once a scholar, a gentleman, a 
clear thinker and writer, he became the most eminent 
of all the leaders of the Spiritualist party ; or, at least so 
it seems to me, and I have had the personal friendship 
of Davis, Sargent, Owen, and many others. Before 
commencing this present chapter I have read and studied 
some seventy of his delightful letters to H. P. B. and 
myself — representing an interchange of above two hun- 
dred epistles ; I have also consulted Mrs. Speer's 
" Records," and they have re-awakened the charm of 
our early intercourse. His close relation with us and the 
way in which our psychical experiences were interwoven, 

312 Old Diary Leaves 

make it necessary that I should give more than a merely 
cursory glimpse of the man ; and the best way to show 
what he was in thought, mind, and aspiration, will be to 
publish in this connection some portions of an autobi- 
ographical narrative contained in one of his letters to 
me. It is dated from University College, London, 29th 
April, 1876, and reads as follows : 

" My life has been cut up into ' junks ' — generally of 
about five years' duration — and the discipline of each is 
peculiar ; but all tends to the same. Illness in some 
form pervades all, and I seldom am left at one form of 
work more than five or seven years. I inherited good 
property : but it was taken from me. I lost it all in one 
day by an incursion of the sea. I was doing well at Col- 
lege — a likely First and Fellowship to follow. Ten days 
before examination I broke down from overwork, and 
was not able to read or even write a letter for two years, 
or rather I was obliged to defer work for my degree for 
two years, and then to take an ordinary one. During 
that two years I went all over Europe, and learned more 
really than I should have got from books. But it was a 
wreck of life's prospects. 

" Then I had my five years, or six rather, at Theologi- 
cal work. I had a name in the Church, and was counted 
a preacher who would make a reputation, and get on. I 
was thoroughly orthodox, a more or less intelligent theo- 
logian who had really studied all round, and who had a 
knack of argument. I went to a wild country district. 

Conflicting Views 313 

partly by doctor's advice, to have benefit by sea air and 
solitude to recruit my health shattered at Oxford, and 
then I read omnivorously, and worked hard. My people 
would do anything for me. I could lead them anywhere, 
and I got a reputation in Parish and Pulpit. I overdid 
myself again, and felt that I must get off the excessive 
work (30 square miles of district to work is no joke : and 
all in my hands). I came to the West of England, and 
was appointed to a grand position in the Diocese of 
Sarum — a sort of select preacher. I acted twice, and 
irreparably broke down. Doctors could make nothing 
of me. They said I was overwrought : that I must rest, 
etc. I did rest, and got no better. Physically I was not 
exactly ill, but I dare not try to do anything in public. 

" Then I fell ill again, this time with a fever : and in 
a place where no good doctor was to be had. A visitor 
tended me — my life was barely snatched out of the fire, 
and he became my fast friend — Dr. Speer. I came to 
London, and he asked me to live in his house and coach 
his boy. My property was gone, my position, my health. 
He took me in and I lived with him. But I could do 
nothing in public. He could not understand it. I could 
not explain it : but it was an awful, ever-present fact. I 
felt my old life was done. Yet I had no doubts as to the 
faith I had always held, not one — not a bit of one. 

" But by degrees I found the old landmarks getting 
fainter : the bread grew stale. Then one day a man 
broke down here [at the London Univ.] and the authori- 
ties wanted somebody to carry on lectures on Philology. 

314 Old Diary Leaves 

Few could do it, for the thing requires preparation. I 
heard and offered. I have a way of pigeon-holing knowl- 
edge till it is wanted, and I had read Philology at Ox- 
ford. So I took up the thread, and they finally gave me 
a permanent appointment. 

" Another change, you see. I could lecture well 
enough, but could not do my old clerical work. When 
friends found me at work again, they said, now you '11 
take a Church in London, or So and So will be delighted 
to have you preach for him : but I simply could not. Yet 
I never write a lecture, and can go a session through 
without a note. 

" Queer, Eh ? 

" Well, Mrs. Speer fell ill with some serious ailment, 
and got hold of one of Dale Owen's books. As soon as 
she got down stairs she set at me. I pished and pshawed, 
but agreed to look into the thing. I went to Burns, got 
all I could, went to Heme and Williams, and in two 
months was in the thick of physical mediumship, such 
as is hardly credible. Our phenomena were far ahead 
of anything I have seen elsewhere. It went on for four 
years, and now it is dying out, and I am going into an- 
other phase — and there have been plenty more that I 
have passed over. Indeed, I have said too much of self. 
But you may as well know what sort of man I am. 

" At the present I have lost all sectarian faith, i. e., all 
distinctive dogmatism. You will see in Spirit Teachings 
how I fought for it. Now I have lost the body, and kept 
the spirit. I no longer count myself a member of any 

Conflicting Views 315 

Church, but I have got all the good I could out of them 
all. I am a free man : with such knowledge as Theo- 
logical systems can give. I have thrown the husks away. 
And now, as soon as I have been sufficiently purified, I 
humbly hope to be allowed to enter within the veil, hop- 
ing there to repeat a process which, with some modifica- 
tions, will be unceasing. Endless progress, perpetual 
purification, the lifting of veil after veil until — Eh ? 
where have I got to ? God bless you. 

" Your friend and brother, 

" M. A. OxoN." 

At this stage had he arrived when we were brought 
together ; thenceforth to keep in perfect sympathy and 
lovingly work together along parallel lines : our aspira- 
tions the same, our views not radically divergent. Often 
and often does he in his letters bemoan the fact that we 
were not living in the same city, where we might continu- 
ally exchange ideas. Several chapters were devoted in 
the Theosophist to the subject of Stainton Moseyn's 
mediumship and the resemblance between his phenomena 
and H. P. B.'s, which may be read with profit. 

Our Western friends will be interested in knowing that 
the Hindu who would enter upon a course of meditation, 
/. ^., of concentration of all one's mental faculties upon 
spiritual problems, has a triple system to observe. There 
is, first of all, to make the Sthalla S'uddhi, or ceremony, 
with the object of purifying the ground upon which he 
is to sit : cutting himself off from astral connection with 

3i6 Old Diary Leaves 

the astral body of the earth and with the elementals which 
inhabit it \_Vide /sis, I., 379]. This isolation is helped 
by first purifying the ground by washing, and by the per- 
son sitting upon a spread of Kusa grass, one of the group 
of vegetables whose aura resists bad and attracts good 
elementals. In this category are also included the Neem 
(Margosa), Tulsi (sacred to Vishnu), and Bilwa (sacred to 
Shiva). Among trees infested with bad influences and 
which the " adversaries " of Imperator are believed to fre- 
quent, are the Tamarind and the Banyan : they also infest 
old wells, long-empty houses, cremation-grounds, cemete- 
ries, battle-grounds, slaughtering places, sites of murders 
and all other places where blood has been spilt : this is the 
Hindu belief, and in this connection see /si's, Chaps. 
XII. and XIII., Vol. I. The ground having been purified 
and the operator isolated from terrene bad influences, he 
next makes the BMta S'uddhi, a recitation of verses 
having power to keep off the " adversaries " dwelling in 
the atmosphere, including both elementals and elemen- 
taries ; assisting the operation by making circular (mes- 
meric) passes around his head with his hand. He thus 
creates a psychical barrier or wall about him. After hav- 
ing very carefully performed these two indispensable pre- 
liminaries — never to be forgotten or perfunctorily done 
— he then proceeds with the A'tma S'uddhi, or recitation 
of mantrams which assist in purifying his body and mind 
and in preparing the way for the awakening of the spiritual 
faculties, the absorption called " meditation," whose aim 
is the attainment of gndnam, knowledge. A pure spot, 

Conflictinor Views 317 

pure air, the absence of unclean persons, /. <-., the un- 
washed, the immoral, the unspiritually-minded, the over- 
fed, the unsympathetic — are all indispensable for the 
seeker after divine truth. 

Imperator's admonitions to the Speer circle and, in 
fact, those which have been given to all really choice 
circles of spiritualistic investigators in all parts of the 
world, substantially accord with the Eastern rules. In 
short, the closer these precautions have been observed, 
the higher and nobler have been the teachings received. 
The revolting scenes .and disgusting language and in- 
structions which have attended so many sdances where 
unprotected and unpurified mediums have given their 
services to mixed gatherings of foul and pure inquirers, 
are traceable to neglect of these protective conditions. 
Gradually, things h.ive been changing for the better with- 
in these past sexenteen years ; physical mediums and 
physical phenomena are slowly beginning to give place 
to the higher forms of mediumship and manifestations. 

The views of Imperator about the evils of mixed cir- 
cles were reflected in Stainton Moseyn"s published 
writings, and, if possible, more strongly in his private 
correspondence. He fully comprehended that the ex- 
periences of centuries must have taught the Asiatics this 
\eritv, that pure spiritual aura can no more be passed 
untainted through a vile medium and incongruous circle, 
than the water of a mountain spring be made to run 
pure through a foul filter. Hence their strict and stern 
rules for the isolation of the postulant for knowledge 

3i8 Old Diary Leaves 

from all corrupting influences, and for the thorough 
purification of his own self. When one sees the blind 
ignorance and rash confidence with which Western peo- 
ple go themselves and take their sensitive children into 
the sin-sodden aura of many a stance room, one can feel 
how thoroughly just is the stricture of M. A. Oxon's chief 
guide, about the surprising fatuity shown with respect 
to dealings with the spirits of the departed. The most 
" orthodox " of the Spiritualist writers are now only, after 
forty-odd years' experience with mediumistic phenomena, 
partly realising this truth. Yet these same persons, 
yielding to a rooted hatred of Theosophy — which they 
excuse on the score of their detestation of H. P. B. — 
will not hearken to the voice of the ancients nor take 
the precautions which experience dictates against the 
perils of the open circle and the public medium. The 
improvement above noticed is due rather to the general 
interest created by our literature, and its reflex action 
upon mediums and circles, than to the direct influence 
of editors, speakers, and writers. Let us hope that before 
long the views of the Theosophists respecting elementals 
and elementaries will be accorded the full attention they 



I SAT in the verandah at " Gulistan," my mountain 
cottage, one morning, looking northward above the 
sea of clouds that hid the Mysore plains from view. 
Presently, the vaporous ocean dissolved away, and the 
eye could distinctly see the Bilgirirangam Hills, seventy 
miles off ; with a good glass the details could be easily 
made out. By association of ideas, the problem of the 
connection between Stainton Moses* and our two selves 
— H. P. B. and I — came to my mind. As I turned over 
the facts of our intercourse one by one, the confusing 
clouds of subsequent events rolled away, and in the dis- 
tant past the glass of memory brought out his relation- 
ship to us and our Sages more distinctly than ever 
before. It is now clear to me that one directing 
Intelligence, pursuing a wide-reaching plan covering all 
nations and peoples, and acting through many agents 
besides ourselves, had in hand his development and mine, 

* I use the distoite'I name under protest. 

3^0 Old Diary Leaves 

his body of psychical proofs and those given me by and 
through H. P. B. Who " Imperator," its agent, was, I 
know not — I do not even know who H. P. B. really 
was — but I have always been inclined to believe that 
he was either S. M.'s own Higher Self or an adept ; and 
that " Magus " and others of S. M.'s band were adepts 
likewise. I had my band also — though not of " spirit 
controls." S. M. had an Arabian teacher, so had I ; 
he an Italian philosopher, so had I ; he had Egyptians, 
I had a Copt ; he had a " Prudens," "versed in Alex- 
andrian and Indian lore," so had I — several ; he had 
Dr. Dee, an English mystic, I also had one— the one 
previously spoken of as " the Platonist " ; and between 
his phenomena and H. P. B.'s there was a striking re- 
semblance. Until Mrs. Speer's Records were published 
all these particulars were not known to me, but now 
everything is plain. No wonder that S. M. and I were 
so drawn together ; it was inevitable. That he felt it 
too, his whole correspondence proves. He sums it up 
in these few words, in his letter of Jan. 24, 1876 : 
" My strongest attraction lies to you two ; and I would 
give anything to be able to come to you " — in the 
Double, he means. The saddening thing to me is that 
he could not have known his " band " for what they 
were — or what I think they were, if you like. Supposing 
my surmise to be correct, the obstacle was his peculiar 
mental bias. His intellectual history resembles Mrs. 
Besant's in certain respects : each fought desperately 
for old ideas and changed them only under the com- 

Conflicting Views 321 

pulsion of cumulative proofs ; each sought only truth, 
and each stood bravely for it. How pathetic the story 
of Mrs. Besant's struggle against reason in the interest 
of her old faith, and her final brave yielding to logic ! 
So, the reader of Stainton Moses' published and unpub- 
lished personal narrative must see that Imperator and 
his colleagues had to contend against a combative in- 
credulity in the mental man that would not loose its 
hold upon the medium's mind, until it had been swept 
out, so to say, by a tornado of psychical demonstra- 
tions.* He was, by temperament, a conscientious mule ; 
but once brought to accept the new philosophy, he was 
courage and loyalty personiiied, a lion for fighting and 
bravery. The first portrait that he sent me represents 
him as a thin-faced curate, seemingly as mild as milk ; 
and no one could have guessed that that inoffensive 
parson was destined to become a chief leader of the 
party of spiritualistic free-thinkers. So necessary is 
trained clairvoyance to show us what our neighbour is 
behind his mdyd. 

It will be objected to my hypothesis about Imperator 
that he declared himself a spirit ; and so he was as re- 
gards S. M., whether he still had connection with a 
physical body or not. Must not babes be fed with 
milk ? See how ardently H. P. B. professed herself a 
Spirituahst in her first letters to the papers and her first 
interviews with reporters. See her at Philadelphia, 

* Among many corroborative passages, see what Imperator says 
in Mr5. Speer's Record, XX. : Light, July 30, 1892. 

322 Old Diary Leaves 

doing phenomena in the Holmes seances, and allowing 
Gen. Lippitt, Mr. Owen, and myself to believe they were 
attributable to the mediumship of Mrs. Holmes whom, 
in our Scrap-Book, she brands as a common cheat. 
Was not I at first made to believe that I was dealing 
with disincarnate spirits ; and was not a stalking-horse 
put forward to rap and write, and produce materialised 
forms for me, under the pseudonym of John King ? 
That this delusion was shortly dropped and the truth 
told me, I attribute to the fact of my chronic indiffer- 
ence to theologies and to the identity of personalities 
behind the phenomena. My record is clear in this re- 
spect, as I had committed my opinions to print as far 
back as 1853.* 

My bias of mind then was identical with my present 
one : which explains the fact why, with all my affection 
for H. P. B. and my reverence for our Masters — in neither 
of which do any of her disciples surpass me — I continu- 
ally protest against the assertion that a fact or teaching 
is one whit better or weightier when associated with 
H. P. B. or one of our Masters or their chelas. No 
religion, philosophy, or expounder thereof is higher, 
greater, or more authoritative than Truth : for Truth and 
God are identical. Having no sectarian barriers to be 
pulled down, I was soon disabused about my teaching 
intelligences : whereas S. M. was obstinacy incarnate, 

* Vide the old Spiritual Telegraph journal, S. B. Britten Editor, 
for 1853 : articles of mine signed with my own name and the pseu- 
donym " Amherst." 

Conflicting Views 323 

and it is the greatest of wonders to me that his " band " 
were so patient, kind, and tolerant of what must have 
seemed to them the whimsies of a spoilt child. His 
health, never very robust, broke down from overwork, 
as he tells us, before the commencement of his medium- 
ship ; but we also see that the powers which were al- 
ready shaping his destiny caused him to break down 
whenever there was a good chance of his reverting to 
ministerial work. He was compelled to keep out of it, 
whether he would or not. 

In view of all the above (/. e., the facts and arguments 
given in the original version of this and the preceding 
chapter), am I far wrong in suspecting a close connec- 
tion between the Intelligence behind Stainton Moses 
and that behind H. P. B. ? Rewrites me, December 31, 
1876: "I do not know whether I rightly conjecture 
from Imperator this morning that she (H. P. B.) is about 
me, working about me, I mean, — for my good or en- 
lightenment in some way. It is no use asking her ; but 
I believe she is." October 10, 1876, he writes me that he 
had had 

" A splendid and perfectly complete ' vision ' — or, as I 
prefer to call it, interview with Isis.* It was late, or 
rather near midnight — I have an accurate memo, at 
home — when I suddenly saw Isis in my sitting-room 

* One of several nicknames H. P. B.'s intimate friends used to 
give her ; others being " Sphinx," " Popess," and the " Old 
Lady. " 

324 Old Diary Leaves 

looking through the open door into my study, where 
C. C. M. was sitting and where I stood. I cried out 
and rushed into the next room, followed by M. He 
saw nil. I saw Isis as plain as possible, and talked with 
her for some time. I noticed my first rush into the 
room had the effect of ' dissipating ' the form, but it 
soon reappeared and went into my study, where M. says 
I seemed to pass into a sort of ' trance ' or abnormal 
state of some kind, and went through pantomimic ges- 
tures of masonic import." 

Since copying this out, I find, endorsed in my hand- 
writing on the back of a letter of M. A. Oxon's, the 
following: "If between now and the 15th instant 
M. A. O. does not see H. P. B., she will not visit him 
any more. (Sgd.) H. S. O." And that very night he 
did see her, as described above. A year before (Octo- 
ber 16, 1875), he thanks H. P. B. for her letter, and says 
it " throws a flood of light, not only on the phenomena 
of Spiritualism at large, but on many hints made to me 
which were not before clear." In short, she had helped 
him to understand his own spirit-teachings. Here is a 
beautiful passage from his letter of Oct. 7, 1876 : 

" One thing alone fills my eye — the search for Truth. 
I don't look for anything else ; and though I may turn 
aside to examine what claims to be Truth, I soon leave 
the sham and return to the straight road. Life seems 
to me given for that alone, and all else is subordinate 
to that end. The present sphere of existence seems to 

Conflicting Views 325 

be only a means to that end, and when it has served its 
purpose, it will give place to one adapted to secure 
progress. Whether I live, I live for Truth : if I die, 
when I die, I die to pursue it better." 

There is a true man's heart opened out to the sun- 
light. He remarks farther on : 

" It is because I dimly see — and far more because he 
(Imperator) tells me that in Occultism I shall find a 
phase of Truth not yet known to me, that I look to it 
and you (H. P. B.). Probably the time will never come 
during my stay on earth when I shall have penetrated 
the veil, probably my life will be spent in searching for 
Truth, through means of which you are to me the pres- 
ent exponent." 

As regards " Magus,'' I have some very interesting 
data, and have come to a much clearer opinion than I 
have as to Imperator. I am almost certain that he is 
a living adept ; not only that, but one that had to do 
with us. In March, 1876, I sent S. M. a bit of cotton 
wool or muslin impregnated with a liquid perfume which 
H. P. B. could cause to exude from the palm of her 
hand at will, asking him if he recognised it. On the 
23d of that month, he replies : 

" That sandalwood scent is so familiar to me. One 
of the most persistent phenomena in our circle was the 
production of scent, either in a liquid form, or in that 
of a scent-laden breeze. The scent we always called 

326 Old Diary Leaves 

' The Spirit Scent ' was this; and we always had it under 
the best conditions. This for the past two years. My 
friends always knew when our best seances would be by 
the prevalence of that perfume in my atmosphere. The 
house where we used to meet would be redolent of it 
for days ; and Dr. Speer's house in the Isle of Wight, 
when I was staying there, got so permeated with it that 
when it was reopened again six months after, the per- 
fume was as strong as ever. What a marvellous power 
is it that these Brothers wield ... I stayed in my rooms 
all day trying to ease my racking cough. . . . At midnight 
I had a more than ordinarily severe fit of coughing. When 
it was over, I saw by my bedside, distant about two yards, 
and at the height about 5 ft. 6 in. from the floor, three 
^ small phosphorescent balls of light about 

the size of a small orange. They were ar- 
ranged thus and formed an equilateral tri- 
angle, the base of which would measure 18 in. First I 
thought it was an optical delusion caused by my violent 
cough. I fixed my gaze on them, and they remained 
quiet, glowing with a steady phosphorescent light which 
cast no gleam beyond itself. Satisfied that the phe- 
nomenon was objective, I reached a match-box and 
struck a match, I could not see the balls through the 
match-light ; but when the match went out they came 
again into view just as before. I repeated the match- 
striking six times (seven in all) when they paled, and 
gradually went out. It is the symbol that J. K. put at 
the back of your portrait. [While in transit through the 

Conflicting Views 327 

post from me to him — O.] Was it he again ? It was 
not any of my own people, I believe." 

As I have elsewhere explained, the three luminous 
spheres form the special symbol of the Lodge of our 
Adepts ; and better proof of their proximity to Stainton 
Moses no one of us who have been their pupils would 
desire. He, too, says : 

" Certainly all doubt as to the Brotherhood and their 
work is gone. I have no shred remaining. I believe, 
simply, and I labour so far as in me lies to fit myself for 
such work as they may design me for.'' 

" Do you know anything of my friend Magus ? " — he 
writes in another letter. " He is powerful, and is work- 
ing on ras occultly." In another one — May 18, 1877 — he 
says to H. P. B. : 

" Some of your friends have paid me a visit of late 
rather often, if I may judge by the atmosphere of san- 
dalwood — the Lodge scent, O. calls it — which pervades 
my rooms and myself. I taste it, I exhale it, everything 
belonging to me smells of it, and there has recurred the 
old and inexplicable phenomenon which I have not seen 
for many months — more than a year — and which used to 
obtain with me in respect of other odours. From a well- 
defined spot just round the crown of the head [over the 
Brahmarandhra ? — O.], quite small (the size of a half- 
crown piece), exudes a most powerful odour. It is now. 

328 Old Diary Leaves 

this Lodge scent, so strong as to be almost unbearable. 
It used to be rose, or indeed that of any fresh flower in 
my neighbourhood. ... A friend gave me a Gar- 
dinia the other evening at a party. In a few minutes it 
gave an overpowering odour of the Lodge perfume, 
turned a mahogany-brown before our eyes, till the whole 
flower was of that colour, and it now remains dead and 
saturated with the odour. ... I feel myself in a 
transition state, and wait what turns up. ' Magus ' seems 
the presiding genius in many ways now." 

Not at all strange, one would say, with S. M. satur- 
ated and all but stifled with the Lodge's scented atmos- 
phere ! It is a most persistent odour. In 1877, I sent 
him a lock of H. P. B.'s natural hair, and with it a lock 
of the Hindu jet-black that I have spoken of above as 
having been cut from her head when she was the sub- 
ject of an A'ves'am. I cut this lock myself to send 
S. M. He acknowledged its receipt in his letter to 
H. P. B. of March 25, 1877. Wishing to photograph the 
different kinds of hair for an illustration for this book, 
to show the actual contrasts in fibre and color, I asked 
C. C. M. to return these two specimens to me out of 
S. M.'s collection, and quite recently they reached my 
hand. The Lodge scent lingers still in the black tress 
after the lapse of sixteen years. Readers of Church his- 
tory will recall the fact that in mediaeval times this odor- 
iferous phenomenon was frequently observed among 
really pious and ascetic monks, nuns, and other recluses 

Conflicting Views 329 

of the cloister, the cave, and the desert. It was then 
called " the odour of Sanctity " ; although this was a 
misnomer, for otherwise all saintly personages would 
have smelt sweet, whereas we know too well that it was 
more often the opposite ! Sometimes from the mouth 
of an ecstatic, while lying in her trance, would trickle 
a sweet and fragrant liquor — the nectar of the Greek 
gods ; and in the case of Marie Ange it was caught and 
preserved in bottles. Des Mousseaux,* the demono- 
phobe, ascribes this product of psychical chemistry to 
the Devil. Poor fanatic ! 

» Ilauts Phinomenes de la Magie, p. 377. 




THE early story of the Theosophical Society is 
almost told. Little remains for me but to com- 
plete my first series of reminiscences, with some sketches 
of our social life in New York, up to the time of our 
embarkation for India. 

From the close of 1876 to that of 1878, the Theosophi- 
cal Society as a body was comparatively inactive : its 
By-laws became a dead letter, its meetings almost ceased. 
Its few public appearances have been described above, 
and the signs of its growing influence are found in the 
increase of the Founders' home and foreign correspond- 
ence, their controversial articles in the press, the estab- 
lishment of Branch societies at London and Corfu, and 
the opening up of relations with sympathisers in India 
and Ceylon. 

The influential Spiritualists who joined us at first had 

all withdrawn ; our meetings in a hired room — the Mott 

Memorial Hall, in Madison Avenue, New York — were 


New York Headquarters 331 

discontinued ; the fees formerly exacted upon entrance 
of members were abolished, and the Society's mainte- 
nance devolved entirely upon us two. Yet the idea was 
never more vigorous, nor the movement more full of 
vitality, than when it was divested of its external cor- 
porateness, and its spirit was compressed into our brains, 
hearts, and souls. Our Headquarters' life was ideal 
throughout those closing years. United in devotion to 
a common cause, in daily intercourse with our Masters, 
absorbed in altruistic thoughts, dreams, and deeds, we 
two existed in that roaring metropolis as untouched by 
its selfish rivalries and ignoble ambitions as though we 
occupied a cabin by the seaside, or a cave in the prime- 
val forest. I am not exaggerating when I say that a 
more unworldly tone would not be found in any other 
home in New York. The social distinctions of our 
visitors were left outside our threshold ; and rich or 
poor, Christian, Jew, or Infidel, learned or unlearned, 
our visitors received the same hearty welcome and pa- 
tient attention to their questions upon religious and 
other subjects. H. P. B. was born so great an aristocrat 
as to be at ease in the highest society, and so thorough 
a democratic altruist as to give cordial hospitality to the 
humblest caller. 

One of the best read of our guests in Greek philosophy 
was a working house-painter, and I well remember how 
gladly H. P. B. and I signed his application-form as his 
sponsors and welcomed him into membership. Without 
a single exception those who published accounts of their 

3^2 Old Diary Leaves 

visits to " The Lamasery " — as we humorously called 
our humble suite of rooms — declared that their experi- 
ence had been novel and out of the usual course. Most 
of them wrote about H. P. B. in terms of exaggerated 
praise or wonder. In appearance there was not a shade 
of the ascetic about her : she neither meditated in seclu- 
sion, practised austerities in regimen, denied herself to 
the frivolous and worldly-minded, nor selected her com- 
pany. Her door was open to all, even to those whom 
she knew meant to write about her with pens over which 
she could have no control. Often they lampooned her, 
but if the articles were witty, she used to enjoy them 
with me to the fullest extent. 

Among our constant visitors was Mr. Curtis, one of 
the cleverest reporters on the New York press, and later, 
a member of our Society. He made yards of good 
" copy " out of the Lamasery, sometimes sober, sometimes 
farcical, but always bright and smart. He led us into a 
nice trap one evening : taking us off to a circus where, 
he said, two Egyptian jugglers were exhibiting certain 
marvels that might be ascribed to a knowledge of sor- 
cery, but which, at any rate, he wished us to see and 
pronounce upon as experts in the uncanny. We listened 
to the voice of the syren and went. The show proved 
to be common-place and the Egyptians bond- fide French- 
men, with whom we had a long talk in the Manager's 
office between " acts." They had not even seen an Egyp- 
tian magician of the real sort described by Mr. Lane in 
his well-known work. On leaving the place I condoled 

New York Headquarters 333 

with Curtis on the barrenness of his experiment, but he 
sent us into fits of laughter by replying that, on the con- 
trary, he now had a free hand and could supply all 
needed facts to make a sensational article. He did. 
The next day's World contained an account headed 
" Theosophs at the Circus," in which our stale talk with 
the two Frenchmen was converted into a highly mystical 
interview, accompanied by no end of weird phenomena, 
of spectral apparitions, apports, and disappearances ; the 
whole description proving, if not the reporter's veracity, 
at least, his fertile fancy. Another time he brought us 
a paper giving an account of the night-walking of the 
ghost of a defunct night-watchman, along the wharves 
of a certain district on the East side of the city, and 
begged us to go and see the phantom : the police, he 
said, were all agog, and the inspector of that district had 
made all preparations to have it seized that night. For- 
getting our circus experience, again we accepted. It was 
a rather bleak starlit night, and we sat for hours well 
wrapped, on a pile of lumber, by the river side, beguil- 
ing the time with smoking and chaff with a score of 
newspaper reporters detailed to describe the events of 
the night. But " Old Shep " did not manifest his dis- 
reputable eiddlon that time, and in due course we re- 
turned to our Lamasery vexed at the waste of a whole 
evening. The next day's papers, to our ineffable dis- 
gust, paraded us as a couple of crack-brained persons 
who had expected the impossible, and half conveying 
the idea that we had kept " Old Shep " away to cheat 

334 Old Diary Leaves 

the reporters of their lawful prey ! We even got into 
the illustrated papers, and I have preserved in our Scrap- 
Book a picture representing us two, and the worshipful 
company of reporters as " Members of the Theosophical 
Society watching for Old Shep's ghost." Fortunately, 
the portraits of H. P. B. and myself looked no more like 
us than like the Man in the Moon. 

One evening Curtis was present when the Countess 
Paschkoff was relating an adventure she had with 
H. P. B. in the Libanus, she speaking in French and I 
translating into English. The tale was so weird and 
interesting that he asked permission to print it, and this 
being granted, it duly appeared in his paper. As it ex- 
emplifies the theory of the latency in the A'kas'a of pic- 
tures of human events and the power of calling them 
out which may be attained, I will quote a portion of it 
in this place, leaving the responsibility for the facts with 
the fair narrator : 

"The Countess Paschkoff spoke again, and again 
Colonel Olcott translated for the reporter. ... I 
was once travelling between Baalbec and the river Oron- 
tes, and in the desert I saw a caravan. It was Mme. 
Blavatsky's. We camped together. There was a great 
monument standing there near the village of El Marsum. 
It was between the Libanus and the Anti-Libanus. On 
the monument were inscriptions that no one could ever 
read. Mme. Blavatsky could do strange things with the 
spirits, as I knew, and I asked her to find out what the 

New York Headquarters 335 

monument was. We waited until night. She drew a 
circle and we went in it. We built a fire and put much 
incense on it. Then she said many spells. Then we 
put on more incense. Then she pointed with her wand 
at the monument and we saw a great ball of white flame 
on it. There was a sycamore tree near by ; we saw 
many little flames on it. The jackals came and howled 
in the darkness a little way off. We put on more in- 
cense. Then Mme. Blavatsky commanded the spirit to 
appear of the person to whom the monument was reared. 
Soon a cloud of vapour arose and obscured the little 
moonlight there was. We put on more incense. The 
cloud took the indistinct shape of an old man with a 
beard, and a voice came, as it seemed, from a great dis- 
tance, through the image. He said the monument was 
once the altar of a temple that had long disappeared. It 
was reared to a god that had long since gone to another 
world. "Who are you?" asked Mme. Blavatsky. "I 
am Hiero, one of the priests of the temple," said the 
voice. Then Mme. Blavatsky ordered him to show us 
the place as it was when the temple stood. He bowed, 
and for one instant we had a glimpse of the temple and 
of a vast city filling the plain as far as the eye could 
reach. Then it was gone, and the image faded away."* 
About the end of 1877, or beginning of 1878, we were 
visited by the Hon. John L. O'Sullivan, an American 

* N. Y. World of 21st of April, 1878, article entitled "Ghost 
Stories Galore." ^ 

^2,(> Old Diary Leaves 

diplomat and an ardent Spiritualist, who was passing 
through New York on his way from London to San 
Francisco. He was kindly received by H. P. B. and 
stoutly defended his beliefs against her attacks. Some 
instructive phenomena were done for him, which he sub- 
sequently described in the Spiritualist for February 8, 
1878, in the following terms : 

" She had been toying with an oriental chaplet, in a 
lacquer cup or bowl, the aromatic wooden beads of 
which, strung together, were of about the size of a large 
marble, and copiously carved all round. A gentleman 
present took the chaplet in his hands, admired the beads, 
and asked if she would not give him one of them. 'Oh, 
I hardly like to break it,' she observed. But she took it 
presently, and resui-ned her playing with it in the lacquer 
bowl. My eyes were fixed upon them, under the full 
blaze of a large lamp just above her table. It soon be- 
came manifest that they were growing in number under 
her fingers as she handled them, till the bowl became 
nearly full. She presently lifted out of it the chaplet, 
leaving a considerable number of loose beads, of which 
she said he might take what he wanted. I have ever 
since regretted that I had not the presence of mind, or 
the venturesomeness, to ask for some for myself. I am 
sure she would have given them freely, for she is all kind- 
ness, as well as, apparently, a woman of all knowledge. 
My presumption about the beads thus created under our 
eyes was that they were ' apports,' brought in by spirits, 
in compliance with her wish or will. I believe (though 

New York Headquarters 


not quite certain) that her idea, and Olcott's is that 
these phenomena are produced in some way by a great 
brother " <iJ<-/t ' in Thibet — the same one from whose old 
spinnet I was made to hear in the air overhead (as I 
have before mentioned, and as majiy other friends had 
done before) the faint but clear tinkling music which I 
was told came, borne on a current of " astral fluid,' from 
Thibet ; to which home of her heart Madame Blavatsky 
said she was going back (never again to leave it), after 
she should have completed her mission, task, and busi- 
ness which was chiefly that of publishing her book. 

■■ Another case of fabrication of material objects out 
of apparently nothing. Coming in late one afternoon 
ro her little parlour, where she usually spent seventeen 
hours out of the twenty-four at her writing-table, I found 
Colonel Olcott with her, occupied in correctingher earlier 
proof-sheets. I had by this time become somewhat in- 
timate with her and Olcott, for both of whom I shall 
always retain a strong attachment as well as profound 
respect. He told me how there had taken place that 
afternoon one of those '/////<■ ir^Luris ' (as he calls them) 
which were of occurrence there. There had 
been a group of visitors, and an animated discussion on 
the comparat!\e civilisation of the ancient Orient and 
the modem West. 

'■ The subject came up of the tissues fabricated in the 
one and the other. Madame Blavatsky is an enthusiast 
on the Orient side of this dispute. She suddenly put 
her hr.ud to her neck and drew forth from her ample 

338 Old Diary Leaves 

bosom (from beneath the old dressing-gown, which is the 
only garb in which I have seen her), a handkerchief of 
silk crape, with a striped border, very like what is called 
' carton crape,' and asked whether occidental looms pro- 
duced anything superior to that. They assured me (and 
I have ample warrant for believing them) that it had not 
been there before that moment. It was in smooth, fresh 
folds, and the conversation had arisen accidentally. I 
admired it, recognised in time the peculiar sickly sweet 
and pungent odour which attends all these ' apports ' from 
Far Cathay (including the beads above mentioned), and 
observed the peculiar signature on one edge of the hand- 
kerchief, which I had seen on various objects, and which 
I was told was the name (in pre-Sanskrit characters) of 
a great brother ' Adept ' in Thibet to whom, by the way, 
she says she is very far inferior. When we were after- 
wards summoned to their very simple repast (to which 
had been added a hospitable bottle of wine for me, 
though they never touch it), she remarked to Olcott : 
' Give me that handkerchief.' He gave it to her, out of 
the sheet of letter-paper in which he had carefully folded 
it in its smooth unruffled condition. She at once made 
a careless twist of it and tied it round her neck. When 
we returned from the dining-room to her warmer snug- 
gery of a parlour, she took it off and threw it on the 
table by her side. I remarked, ' You treat it in a very 
unceremonious fashion. Will you give that one to me ? ' 
— ' Oh, certainly if you would like to have it ' ; and she 
tossed it over to me. I smoothed out its creases as well 

New York Headquarters 339 

as I could, again wrapped it in a sheet of paper, and put 
it in my breast pocket. Later on, as I was taking my 
departure, and we were all on foot : she said : ' Oh, just 
give irie that handkerchief for a moment.' Of course I 
obeyed. She turned her back to me for an instant or 
two, and then, turning again to me, she held out two 
handkerchiefs, one in each hand, saying : ' Take which 
ever you please ; I thought that perhaps you might pre- 
fer this one (handing me the new one) since you have 
seen it come.' Of course I did so, and after travelling 
about fifteen miles by rail that night, I gave it to the 
lady best entitled to receive a favour thus conferred upon 
me by another lady, which latter lady, by the way, claims 
to be a septuagenarian, though looking only about forty. 
When I left America, a few days afterwards, the hand- 
kerchief had not yet melted away, nor wafted back to 
Thibet, on a ' current of astral fluid,' I should add that 
the second handkerchief was a perfect fac-simile of the 
first, down to every detail of the name in ancient ori- 
ental characters ; which, by the way, was evidently writ- 
ten or painted in some black pigment or ink, not stamped 

My recollection of the handkerchief incident differs 
slightly from Mr. O'Sullivan's narrative. The original 
specimen was made out of nothing — to use the faulty 
common expression, for something never was nor could 
be made out of nothing, theologists to the contrary not- 
withstanding — during a conversation between H. P. B. 
and our friend Monsieur Herrisse of the Haytian Lega- 

340 Old Diary Leaves 

tion. He had said that a relative of his had brought 
back from China some fine crape handkerchiefs which 
Western looms had not yet equalled. She thereupon 
produced a handkerchief of the same description and 
asked M. Herrisse if that was what he meant, to which 
he assented. I took possession of it, and, at the inter- 
view with Mr. O'Sullivan, mentioned the incident and 
showed him the article, whereupon he asked H. P. B. to 
give it him. She did so, and when I humorously said she 
had no right to give away my property without my con- 
sent, she said I was not to mind, as she would give me 
another. At that moment we were called to dinner and 
were moving towards the door, when she bade Mr. 
O'Sullivan lend her the handkerchief for a moment. 
Standing as we were together, she turned her back for 
an instant, wheeled back again with a duplicate hand- 
kerchief in each hand, one of which she gave Mr. 
O'Sullivan, the other myself. Returning from the din- 
ing-room and resuming our former seats, she felt a cold 
draft from the partly opened window behind her chair 
and asked me for something to put on her neck. I gave 
her my magic handkerchief, which she loosely put about 
her neck and went on talking. Observing that the ends 
were not long enough to be properly twisted, I got a pin 
and wanted her to let me fasten them ; but she ex- 
claimed, " Bother you and your pins ; here take back 
your handkerchief ! " at the same time jerking it from 
her neck and throwing it at me. At the same instant 
we saw a second copy of the original still about her 


New York Headquarters 341 

neck, and O' Sullivan starting forward and reaching out 
his hand, said : " That one — please give me that one, for 
I saw it formed under my own eyes ! " She good-na- 
turedly gave it him, and the one he had was restored to 
her and the conversation proceeded. The original one 
made in Herrisse's presence I have still in my possession, 
the second one my sister has. 

I have thought it worth while to tell this story and 
others still to come, to show the nature of proofs she 
constantly afforded us of her wonder-working power in 
those early New York days, before there were mission- 
aries encamped across her path, and it was worth their 
while to invent, purchase, or honestly come by evidence 
or enlist witnesses to cast doubt upon her personal char- 
acter. If nothing else had subsequently been given me, 
those early phenomena would have fixed forever my be- 
lief in her possession of certain of the Siddhis, and made 
me very wary about discrediting her teachings on the 
psycho-dynamical laws behind them. It was not at long 
intervals, but frequently, that her friends and other visi- 
tors had this cumulative evidence that the psychically- 
endowed child of Sarotow had grown into the mysterious 
woman of 1875, without losing one of the supernormal 
faculties of her youth, but, on the contrary, had expanded 
and infinitely strengthened and augmented them. These 
incidents gave to her salon a fascinating attractiveness 
that was offered by no other in New York. Her person- 
ality, not the Theosophical Society, was the magnet of 
attraction, and she revelled in the excitement of the en- 


Old Diary Leaves 

tourage. So miscellaneous was it, such a mixture of 
music, metaphysics, Orientalism, and local gossip, that I 
cannot give a better idea of it than by saying it was like 
the contents of Isis Unveiled, than which no literary 
product is a greater conglomerate. 


ALTHOUGH sad experience has taught us that 
psychical phenomena are weak things to build a 
great spiritual movement upon, yet they have a distinct 
value in their proper place when strictly controlled. That 
place is within the limits of the third of the Declared 
Objects of our Society. They have a paramount import- 
ance as elementary proofs of the power of the trained 
human will over the brute forces of nature. In this re- 
spect they bear upon the problem of the intelligence 
behind mediumistic phenomena. I think that the early 
phenomena of H. P. B. dealt a distinct blow at the theory, 
until then generally held, that the messages received 
through mediums must of necessity be from the dead. 
For here were things done in the absence of presumably 
necessary conditions, sometimes apparently in defiance 
of them. The records of them now survive only in 
clippings from contemporary newspapers, and in the 
memory of witnesses who have not yet put their expe- 
riences into print, but who, being still alive, are able to 


344 Old Diary Leaves 

corroborate or correct my stories of phenomena that we 
saw together in her presence. 

While highly suggestive in themselves, H. P. B.'s won- 
ders were not usually led up to in conversation. When 
we were alone, she might produce some phenomenon to 
illustrate a teaching ; or they might happen as if in an- 
swer to a query arising in my own mind as to the agency 
of some particular force in a given physical operation. 
Usually they were made, as it were, on the spur of the 
moment and independently of any prefatory suggestion 
by anybody present. Let me give an instance or two 
out of many that might be cited, to make my meaning 

One day an English Spiritualist and his friend called, 
and with the former his little son, a lad of lo or 12 
years. The boy amused himself for awhile by going 
about the room, rummaging among our books, examin- 
ing our curios, trying the piano, and indulging in other 
freaks of curiosity. He then began fretting to go, pull- 
ing his father's sleeve and trying to make him break off 
a very interesting conversation with H. P. B. The 
father could not stop his importunities and was about to 
leave, when H. P. B. said : " Oh, don't mind him, he 
merely wants something to amuse him ; let me see if I 
can find him a toy." Thereupon she rose from her chair, 
reached her hand around one of the sliding doors just 
behind her, and pulled out a large toy sheep mounted on 
wheels, which, to my positive knowledge, had not been 
there the moment before ! 

Various Phenomena Described 345 

On a Christmas eve my sister came down from her 
flat, on the floor above the " Lamasery," to ask us to 
step up and see the Christmas-tree she had prepared for 
her children — then asleep in their beds. We looked the 
presents all over, and H. P. B. expressed her regret that 
she had not had any money to buy something for the 
tree herself. She asked my sister what one of the lads, 
a favourite of hers, would like, and being told a loud 
whistle, said : " Well, wait a minute.'' Taking her bunch 
of keys from her pocket, she clutched three of them 
together in one hand, and a moment later showed us a 
large iron whistle hanging in their stead on the key-ring. 
To make it she had used up the iron of the three keys 
and had to get duplicates made the next day by a lock- 
smith. Again. For a year or so after we took up house- 
keeping at the " Lamasery," my family silver was used 
for the table, but at last it had to be sent away, and H. 
P. B. helped me to pack it up. That day after dinner, 
when we were to have coffee, we noticed that there 
were no sugar tongs, and in handing her the sugar basin 
I put in it a teaspoon instead. She asked where were 
our sugar tongs, and upon my replying that we had 
packed it up to send away with the other silver, she said : 
" Well, we must have another one, must n't we ? " and, 
reaching her hand down beside her chair, brought up a 
nondescript tongs, the like of which one would scarcely 
find in a jeweller's shop. It had the legs much longer 
than usual, and the two claws slit like the prongs of a 
pickle-fork ; while inside the shoulder of one of the legs 

346 Old Diary Leaves 

was engraved the cryptograph of Mahdtma " M." I 
have the curio now at Adyar. 

An important law is illustrated here. To create any- 
thing objective out of the diffused matter of space, the 
first step is to think of the desired object — its form, pat- 
tern, colour, material, weight, and other characteristics : 
the picture of it must be sharp and distinct as to every 
detail ; the next step is to put the trained Will in action, 
•employ one's knowledge of the laws of matter and the 
process of its conglomeration, and compel the elemental 
spirits to form and fashion what one wishes made. If 


the operator fails in either of these details, his results 
will be imperfect. In this case before us it is evident 
that H. P. B. had confused in her memory the two dif- 
ferent shapes of sugar-tongs and a pickle-fork and com- 
bined them together into this nondescript or hybrid 
table implement. Of course, the result was to give 
stronger proof of the genuineness of her phenomenon 
than if she had made perfect sugar-tongs : for such may 
be bought in shops anywhere. 

One evening, when our writing-room was full of visi- 
tors, she and I sitting at opposite sides of the room, she 

Various Phenomena Described 347 

motioned to me to lend her a large signet intaglio that I 
was wearing that evening as a scarf-ring. She took it 
between her closed hands, without saying anything to 
anybody or attracting any one's attention save mine, and 
rubbed the hands together for a minute or two, when I 
presently heard the clink of metal upon metal. Catch- 
ing my eye, she smiled, and, opening her hands, showed 
me my ring and along with it another, equally large but of 
a different pattern : the seal-tablet also being of dark 
green bloodstone, whereas mine was of red carnelian. 
That ring she wore until her death, and it is now worn by 
Mrs. Annie Besant and is familiar to thousands. The 
stone was broken on our voyage out to India, and if I 
remember aright, the present one was engraved and set 
at Bombay. Here, again, not a word of the passing con- 
versation led up to the phenomenon ; on the contrary, 
nobody save myself knew of its occurring until afterwards. 
Another instance. I had to go to Albany as special 
counsel to the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New 
York, to argue in Committee of the Legislature against 
a bill then under consideration. H. P. B. profited by 
the chance of an escort to go with me and make a long- 
promised visit to Dr. and Mrs. Ditson, of Albany. She 
was an unpractical creature as to common affairs, and a 
good deal dependent upon the kind offices of friends, 
for her packings and unpackings of trunks, among other 
things. Her former friend. Dr. L. M. Marquette, on 
this occasion packed the Gladstone bag she was to take, 
and it lay open in her room at the moment when the 

348 Old Diary Leaves 

carriage drove up to take us to the Albany train. The 
bag was very full, and I had to repack some of the things 
on top and employ some strength to close the bag and 
lock it. I then carried it myself to the carriage, from 
I he carriage to the railway carriage, and our train sped 
i)Q its way. My reason for mentioning these details will 
presently be seen. Half way to Albany, a large bottle 
of sticky cough-medicine in her pocket got broken and 
made a mess of her tobacco, cigarette-papers, handker- 
chief, and the other contents of the pocket. This neces- 
sitated the re-opening of the bag and the taking out 
of a lot of things, to search for other smoking materials, 
etc. I did this myself, re-packed, closed, and re-locked 
the bag, and on reaching Albany I again carried it to 
the carriage and, at Dr. Ditson's house, took it up a flight 
of stairs and set it down on the landing outside the 
drawing-room door. The hostess at once began an 
animated conversation with H. P. ]!., whom she was see- 
ing for the first time. Mrs. Ditson's little daughter was 
in the room and made friends with H. P. B., standing 
at her knee and petting her hand. The mysterious lady 
in question did not too higlily appreciate this interruption 
of her talk with the mother, and finally said : "There, 
there, my child, keep quiet a few moments and I '11 give 
you a nice present." " Where is it ? Please give it me 
now," the child replied. I, believing that the alleged 
piresent was still in some Albany toy-shop from which I 
should be asked to presently fetch it, maliciously whis- 
pered the little one to ask Madame where she was hiding 

\ arious Phenomena Described 349 

the present, and she did. H. P. B. said " Now don't 
bother, my dear, I have it in my bag. " That was enough 
tor lue : I asked her for her keys, went outside and 
opened the bag and — found packed most artistically 
among the clothing, and right before one's eves upon 
the bag being opened, a harmonicon, or glass piano, of 
say 15 in. \ 4 in. in si.e, with its cork mallet lying be- 
side i: 1 Now, H. P, B. did not pack her bag at New 
York ; had not handled it up to that moment ; I had 
closed and locked it betore starting, reopened, unpacked, 
re-packed, and re- locked it midway on the journey ; .and 
besides that bag. H. P. B. had no otherluggage. Whence 
the h.-.ruionicon came, and how in the world it could 
have been packed into a bag that was previously full to 
bursting, I do not know. Perhaps some S. P. R. will 
suggest that the engine-driver of the train been 
bribed and rendered invisible by H. P. B„ had opened 
the bag on the rioor at my feet by a ghostly picklock, 
and had made room for the musical toy by throwing 
some of H. P. B.'s clothes out of the car-window • Or — 
perhaps it was a genuine phenomenon and she w.xs not 
an absolute trickster, after all. If Pr. Mar-iuette still 
lives, she can testifv to seeing us and our luggage aboard 
the train : and if Pr. Pitson is alive, he can a'urua that 
he took us and the veritable Gladstone bag from the 
station at Albanv to his house. My prtrt, to tell the story 
as truthfuilv as I can. and leave it on record as an in- 
stance of the way in which my dear old colleague some- 
times did a wonder merely to gratify a child, who had 

35° Old Diary Leaves 

not the least idea of the importance of what had 

In my friend, Dr. Upham's History of Salem Witch- 
craft, he tells us that in the case of one of the poor vic- 
tims of that terrible, fanatical persecution of 1695, it was 
brought against her as proof of her compact with Satan, 
that she had walked with spotless skirts through mud 
and rain to a certain meeting. Upon which, the learned 
author suggests that the probability rather is that the ac- 
cused was a tidy woman and so could keep her garments 
unspotted along the muddy road. Throughout his book 
he takes up the attitude of incredulity as to any spiritual 
agency having been at work behind the phenomena of 
obsession, without, it must be confessed, making good 
his case. Once, H. P. B. and I being in Boston, on a 
very rainy and muddy day, she walked through the 
streets in a pelting rain and reached her lodgings with- 
out a drop of rain or splash of mud soiling her dress ; 
and once, I remember, we had been talking on the bal- 
cony outside her drawing-room window in Irving Place, 
New York, and being driven indoors by a heavy rain 
which lasted through the greater part of the night, I 
carelessly left outside a handsome velvet or brocade- 
covered chair. In the morning, when I called as usual 
on H. P. B. before going to my office, I recollected the 
chair and went and brought it in, expecting to find it 
sodden and spoilt by the rain. It was as dry as possi- 
ble, on the contrary ; why or how I cannot explain. 

Mr. O'Sullivan's story of the duplicated China crape 

Various Phenomena Described 351 

handkerchiefs in the preceding chapter will be fresh in 
the reader's memory. I saw her do a notable thing one 
evening for Wong Chin Fu, a Chinese lecturer, since 
well known in the United States. We three were chat- 
ting about the pictures of his country as lacking the ele- 
ments of perspective, whereupon he said how admirable 
were the figure-paintings of their artists, how rich in 
colour and bold in drawing. H. P. B. concurred and, 
in the most casual way, as it seemed, opened the drawer 
where she kept her writing-paper, and drew forth a 
finely-executed painting of a Chinese lady dressed in 
full Court robes. I am sure as I can be that it was not 
there before, but as Wong Chin Fu was not specially 
interested in the occult science which for us had so 
great a charm, I made no remark. Our visitor took the 
picture in his hand, looked at it, remarked upon its 
beauty, but said : " This is not Chinese, Madam ; it has 
no Chinese writing in the corner. It is probably Jap- 
anese." H. P. B. looked at me with an amused expres- 
sion, returned the picture to the drawer, shut it for a 
moment, and then re-opening it, drew forth a second 
picture of a Chinese lady, but wearing different coloured 
robes, and handed it to Wong Chin Fu. This he recog- 
nised as unmistakably from his country, for it bore Chi- 
nese lettering in the left-hand lower corner, and he at 
once read it ! 

Here is an incident by which certain information 
about three members of my family was phenomenally 
communicated to me. H. P. B. and I were alone in the 

352 Old Diary Leaves 

house, conversing about these persons, when a crash was 
suddenly heard in the next room. I hurried in there to 
ascertain the cause, and found that the photographic 
portrait of one of them, which stood on the mantel- 
shelf, had been turned face inward towards the wall, the 
large water-colour portrait of another had been pulled 
from the nail and lay on the floor with the glass smashed, 
and the photo of the third stood on the mantel-shelf un- 
disturbed. My questions were answered. An incorrect 
and fabulous version of this story having been circulated, 
I give the facts exactly as they occurred. Not a person 
save us two was in the flat at the time, and nobody save 
myself was interested in the questions at issue. 

What a strange woman she was, and what a great 
variety in her psychical phenomena ! We have seen her 
duplicating tissues, let me recall incidents where letters 
were doubled. I received one day a letter from a cer- 
tain person who had done me a great wrong, and read 
it aloud to H. P. B. "We must have a copy of that," 
she exclaimed, and, taking the sheet of note-paper from 
me, held it daintily by one corner and actually peeled 
off a duplicate, paper and all, before my very eyes ! It 
was as though she had split the sheet between its two 
surfaces. Another example, perhaps even more inter- 
esting, is the following : Under date of December 22, 
1887, Stainton Moses wrote her a five-paged letter of a 
rather controversial, or, at any rate, critical, character. 
The paper was of square, full letter size, and bore the 
embossed heading " University College, London," and 










ft iJ-'i^J^ril 














Various Phenomena Described 353 

near the left-hand upper corner his monogram, — a W 
and M interlaced and crossed by the name "stainton" 
in small capitals. She said we must have a duplicate of 
this too, so I took from the desk five half-sheets of for- 
eign letter-paper of the same size as Oxon's and gave 
her them. She laid them against the five pages of his 
letter, and then placed the whole in a drawer of the 
desk just in front of me as I sat. We went on with our 
conversation for some time, until she said she thought 
the copy was made and I had better look and see if that 
were so. I opened the drawer, took out the papers, and 
found that one page of each of my five pieces had re- 
ceived from the page with which it was in contact the 
impression of that page. So nearly alike were the origi- 
nal and copies that I thought them — as the reader recol- 
lects I did the copy of the Britten-Louis portrait — exact 
duplicates. I had been thinking so all these subsequent 
sixteen years, but since I hunted up the documents for 
description in this chapter, I see that this is not the 
case. The writings are almost duplicates, yet not quite 
so. They are rather like two original writings by the 
same hand. If H. P. B. had had time to prepare this 
surprise for me, the explanation of forgery would suffice 
to cover the case ; but she had not. The whole thing 
occurred as described, and I submit that it has an un- 
questionable evidential value as to the problem of her 
possessing psychical powers. I have tried the test of 
placing one page over the other to see how the letters 
and marks correspond. I find they do not, and that is 

354 Old Diary Leaves 

proof, at any rate, that the transfer was not made by the 
absorption of the ink by the blank sheet from the other ; 
moreover, the inks are different, and Oxon's is not copy- 
ing-ink. The time occupied by the whole phenomenon 
might have been five or ten minutes, and the papers lay 
the whole time in the drawer in front of my breast, so 
there was no trick of taking it out and substituting other 
sheets for the blank ones I had just then handed her. 
Let it pass to the credit of her good name, and help to 
make the case which her friends would offset against the 
intemperate slanders circulated against her by her ene- 

Mr. Sinnett prints in his Incidents in the Life of 
Madame Blavatsky (p. 199), a story given him by Mr. 
Judge about the production by her of some water col- 
ours for him to use in making an Egyptian drawing. I 
was present at the time and will add my testimony to 
his as an eye-witness. It happened one afternoon at the 
" Lamasery." Judge was sketching for her — I think — 
the figure of a god forming man on a potter's wheel, but 
for lack of colours could not finish it. H. P. B. asked 
him which shades he needed, and on being told, stepped 
over to the cottage piano just behind Judge's chair, and 
facing towards the corner made by the end of the piano 
and the wall, held her dress as an apron to receive some- 
thing. She presently poured from the dress upon the 
table before Judge thirteen bottles of Winsor and New- 
ton's dry colours, among which were those he had asked 
for, A little while after he said he would like some gold 

Various Phenomena Described 355 

paint, whereupon she told him to fetch a saucer from 
the dining-room, which he did. She then asked him to 
hand her the brass door-key and, holding the two under 
the edge of the table, rubbed the key smartly upon the 
bottom of the saucer. In another moment she brought 
them into view again, and the flat part of the saucer 
bottom was found covered with a layer of gold-paint of 
the purest quality. To my question as to the function 
of the door-key in the experiment, she said that the soul 
of the metal was needed as a nucleus in which to collect 
together from the dkds'a the atoms of any other metal 
she meant to precipitate. For the same reason she had 
needed my signet ring as a help to form the other one 
that she made for her own use on the occasion above 
described. Is no hint given here of the principal at 
work when the alleged transmutation of metals is accom- 
plished by the alchemist ? Is, I say, for it is pretended 
that this art is known to various living fakirs and sanyasis 
of modern India. And, moreover, do not the discov- 
eries of Prof. Crookes as to the genesis of the elements* 
bring us to a point where, if science is to advance and 
not retrogress, she must move on to the Aryan hypothesis 
of Purusha and Prakriti ? And does not this latter 
theory show us the possibility of shifting the elements of 
one metal into fresh combinations which would result in 
the development of another metal by employing the 
irresistible power of the Will ? To do this by physical 

* Viz., that the atom is not a unity, but a composite of the world- 
stuff of space, resulting from the play of electricity. 

356 Old Diary Leaves 

methods means — as Professor Crookes says — the carry- 
ing back of the elements of a given metal to that extreme 
point where they might be shunted off on the line which 
would develop and bring into aggregation the elements 
of the other desired metal ; a thing not yet reached by 
physical science, even by employing the enormous re- 
sources of electricity. But what is so monstrously diffi- 
cult for the chemist and electrician, who depends entirely 
upon the help of brute forces, may be quite easy to the 
Adept, whose active agent is the power of spirit, which 
he has learnt to bring into function : the power, in fact, 
which builds the Cosmos. 

Between the point at which Crookes stood on the 
evening of January 15, 1891, when he delivered his 
Inaugural Address, as President of the Institution of 
Electrical Engineers, and made the brilliant experiments 
which proved the truth of his immortal hypothesis, and 
that occupied by European science only a quarter cen- 
tury before, there is a distance immeasurably greater 
than there is between it and the Gupta Vidya of our 
Aryan ancestors. Crookes, hero-like, while recognising 
the obstacles ahead and noting that " a formidable 
amount of hard work remains to be completed," is not 
in the least degree discouraged. " As for myself," he 
says,* " I hold the firm conviction that unflagging re- 
search will be rewarded by an insight into natural mys- 
teries, such as now can scarcely be conceived. Difficul- 
ties, said a keen old statesman, are things to be overcome j 
* Vide your. Inst. Elec. Engineers, No. Vol. XX., p. 49. 

Various Phenomena Described 357 

and to my thinking Science should disdain the notion of 

To have got so far as that is the harbinger of the 
brighter day, when men of science will see that their 
inductive method multiplies an hundredfold the difficul- 
ties of learning "natural mysteries" ; that the key to all 
mysteries is the knowledge of spirit ; and that the way 
to that knowledge leads, not through the laboratory fire, 
but through that fiercer flame which is fed by egoism, 
kept alight by the fuel of passion and fanned by the 
blast of desires. 

When spirit is once more recognised as the su- 
preme factor in the genesis of the elements and the 
building of the Cosmos, psychical phenomena like those 
of our lamented H. P. B. will acquire transcendent 
importance as elementary scientific facts, and no longer 
be looked on by one party as tricks of conjuring, by the 
other as miracles for the surfeiting of the gobe-mouches. 


READERS of Lane's Modern Egyptians, will recall 
the story of a young man who, upon visiting a 
certain wonder-working sheikh, obtained some mar- 
vellous proofs of his occult powers. His father, then 
at a distant place, being somewhat ailing, the son asked 
that he might have news of his condition. The sheikh 
consenting, told him to write the father a note of en- 
quiry ; which was done, handed him by the anxious son, 
and by the sheikh placed under the back-pillow against 
which he was leaning. Presently, the sheikh drew from 
the same place a letter answering the young man's 
enquiries. It was written by the father's own hand, and, 
if my memory serves — for I am trusting to recollection 
only — stamped with his seal. At his request, also, coffee 
was served to the company in the father's own cups 
{fingdn), which he had every reason to believe had been 
at the moment of asking in the paternal house in that 
far-off village. H. P. B. gave me one evening, with- 


Precipitation of Pictures 359 

out fuss or parade, a fact of the first of these two 
orders. I wished to hear from a certain Adept upon a 
certain subject. She bade me write my questions, put 
them in a sealed envelope, and place the letter where I 
could watch it for the time being. This was even better 
than the Egyptian sheikh incident, for in that case the 
letter was hidden from the enquirer by the back-pillow. 
As I was sitting at the moment before the grate, I put 
my letter behind the clock on the mantel, leaving just 
one edge of the envelope projecting far enough for me 
to see it. My colleague and I went on talking about a 
variety of things for perhaps an hour, when she said my 
answer had come. I drew out the letter, found my own 
envelope with its seal unbroken, inside it my own letter, 
and inside that the answer in the Adept's familiar manu- 
script, written upon a sheet of green paper of peculiar 
make, the like of which — I have every reason to believe 
— was not in the house. We were in New York, the 
Adept in Asia. This phenomenon was, I submit, of a 
class to which the theory of trickery could not apply, 
and therefore has much weight. There is just one ex- 
planation possible — a very lame one — besides that which 
I conceive to be the true theory. Granting H. P. B. to 
be possessed of extraordinary hypnotic power, she might 
have instantaneously benumbed my waking faculties, so 
as to prevent my seeing her rise from her chair, take my 
letter from behind the clock, steam the gum, open the 
cover, read my letter, write the reply in forged hand- 
writing, replace the contents of the envelope, refasten 

360 Old Diary Leaves 

it, place it back again on the mantel-shelf, and then re- 
store me to the waking state without leaving in my mem- 
ory the least trace of my experiences ! But I had and 
still preserve a perfect consciousness of having carried 
on the hour's conversation, of her moving about hither 
and thither, of her making and smoking a number of 
cigarettes, of my filling, smoking, and refilling my pipe, 
and, generally, doing what any waking person might do 
when his senses were alert as to a psychical phenome- 
non then in progress. If some forty years of familiarity 
with hypnotic and mesmeric phenomena and their laws 
go for anything, then I can positively declare that I was 
fully conscious of what was going on, and that I have 
accurately stated the facts. Perhaps even twice forty 
years' experience on the plane of physical Maya would 
not qualify one to grasp the possibilities in Oriental 
hypnotic science. Perhaps I am no more capable than 
the tyro of knowing what really passed between the 
times of writing my note and getting the answer. That 
is quite possible. But in such case what infinitesimally 
little weight should be given to the aspersions of H. P. 
B.'s several hostile critics, learned and lay, who have 
judged her an unmitigated trickster, without having had 
even a fourth of my own familiarity with the laws of 
psychical phenomena ! In the (London) Spiritualist 
for January 28, 1876, I described this incident with 
other psychical matters, and the reader is referred to 
my letter for the particulars. 

I am not aware of there being a special class of hir- 

Precipitation of Pictures 361 

sute phenomena, but if there is, then the following inci- 
dent may be included in it, along with that of the sudden 
elongation of H. B. P.'s hair at Philadelphia, described 
in one of my earlier chapters. After having shaved my 
chin for many years I began to grow a full beard, under 
medical advice, as a protection to a naturally delicate 
throat, and at the time I speak of, it was about four 
inches long. One morning, when making my toilet after 
my bath, I discovered a tangle of long hair under my 
chin next the throat. Not knowing what to make of it, 
I very carefully undid the mass at the expense of almost 
an hour's trouble, and found, to my great amazement, 
that I had a lock of beard, fourteen inches long, coming 
down as far as the pit of the stomach ! Whence or why 
it had come no reading or experience helped me to 
guess ; but there it was, a palpable fact and permanent 
phenomenon. Upon my showing it to H. P. B., she said 
it had been purposely done by our Guru while I slept, 
and advised me to take care of it as it would serve me 
as a reservoir of his helpful aura. I showed it to many 
friends, but none could venture any better theory to ac- 
count for it, while all agreed that I ought not to cut it 
back to its former length. So I used to tuck it away 
inside my collar to hide it, and did so for years, until 
the rest of the beard had grown to match it. This ac- 
counts for the "Rishi beard," so often mentioned in 
friendly allusions to my personal appearance, and ex- 
plains why I have not yielded to my long-felt wish to 
clip it into a more convenient and less conspicuous 

362 Old Diary Leaves 

shape. Whatever the fact may be called, it assuredly 
is not a Mdyi, but a very real and tangible verity. 

In the department of " precipitation " * of writings 
and pictures, H. P. B. was exceptionally strong, as will 
have been inferred from all that has preceded. It was 
one of M. A. Oxon's strong points likewise. On an 
evening of 1875 I sat at the house of the President of 
the Photographic Section of the American Institute, Mr. 
H. J. Newton, with a. private medium named Cozine, to 
witness his slate-writings, which were far more wonder- 
ful than Dr. Slade's. The communications came upon 
the slate in bright blue and red colours ; no pencil or 
crayon was used in the experiment, and I myself held 
one end of the slate. Upon mentioning this to H. P. B., 
she said : " I think I could do that ; at any rate, I will 
try." So I went out and bought a slate and brought it 
home ; she took it, without crayons or pencil, into a 
small, pitch-dark closet bed-room and lay upon the 
couch, while I went out, closed the door, and waited 
outside. After a very few minutes she reappeared with 
the slate in her hand, her forehead damp with perspira- 
tion, and she seeming very tired. " By Jove ! " she ex- 
claimed, " that took it out of me, but I 've done it ; 
see ! " On the slate was writing in red and blue cray- 
ons, in handwritings not her own. M. A. Oxon once 
wrote me an account of a similar experience of his own, 
save that in his case Imperator was the agent and he the 

* A term, originally of my own invention, which seems to convey 
best of all an Idea of the method employed. 

Precipitation of Pictures 363 

passive medium, which is quite another affair. At his 
request Imperator wrote messages to him in various col- 
oured inks, one after the other, inside the pocket-book 
he had in the breast pocket of his coat at the time. 
Imperator being still the .v of Oxon's psychic life, 
perhaps it was the ethereal body of my friend which 
precipitated the coloured writings to appease the clam- 
orous scepticism of his physical brain-consciousness, in 
which case his phenomenon and H. P. B.'s would be 
somewhat akin. 

Elsewhere I have mentioned H. P. B.'s having done 
for me a precipitated picture on satin, which showed me 
the stage that Oxon had reached in his attempt to gain 
the power of projecting his Double by force of concen- 
trated will-power. I had better now give the details : 

One evening, in the autumn of 1876, she and I were 
working, as usual, upon Ist's, at opposite sides of our 
writing-table, and dropped into a discussion of the prin- 
ciples involved in the conscious projection of the 
Double. Through lack of early familiarity with those 
subjects, she was not good then at explaining scientific 
matters, and I found it difficult to grasp her meaning. 
Her fiery temperament made her prone to abuse me for 
an idiot in such cases, and this time she did not spare 
her expressions of impatience at my alleged obtuseness. 
Finally, she did the very best thing by offering to show 
me in a picture how Oxon's evolution was proceeding, 
and at once made good her promise. Rising from the 
table, she went and opened a drawer from which she 

364 Old Diary Leaves 

took a small roll of white satin — the remnant, I believe, 
of a piece she had had given her at Philadelphia — and 
laying it on the table before me, proceeded to cut off a 
piece of the size she wanted ; after which she returned 
the roll to its place and sat down. She laid the piece 
of satin, face down, before her, almost covered it with 
a sheet of clean blotting-paper, and rested her elbows 
on it while she rolled for herself and lighted a fresh 
cigarette. Presently she asked me to fetch her a glass 
of water. I said I would, but first put her some ques- 
tion which involved an answer and some delay. Mean- 
while I kept my eye upon an exposed edge of the satin, 
determined not to lose sight of it. Soon noticing that 
I made no sign of moving, she asked me if I did not 
mean to fetch her the water. I said : " Oh, certainly." 
" Then what do you wait for ? " she asked. " I only 
wait to see what you are about to do with that satin," 
I replied. She gave me one angry glance, as though 
seeing that I did not mean to trust her alone with the 
satin, and then brought down her clenched fist upon 
the blotting-paper, saying: " I shall have it now — this 
minute ! " Then, raising the paper and turning over the 
satin, she tossed it over to me. Imagine, if you can, 
my surprise ! On the sheeny side I found a picture, 
in colours, of a most extraordinary character.* There 
was an excellent portrait, of the head only, of Stainton 

* The photo-engraving process not having as yet advanced to the 
point of photographing in colours, our cut but very poorly represents 
the original picture on satin. 



1SWTU»<--- -T- - ^ :».'»rlt.Sf;NTirv3 THt f-.i-Ai. EVOLUTION OF 


Precipitation of Pictures 365 

Moses as he looked at that age, the almost duplicate of 
one of his photographs that hung " above the line ' on 
the wall of the room, over the mantel-shelf. From the 
crown of the head shot out spikes of golden flame ; at 
the places of the heart and the solar plexus were red 
and golden fires, as it might be bursting forth from little 
craters ; the head and the place of the thorax were in- 
volved in rolling clouds of pure blue aura, bespeckled 
throughout with flecks of gold ; and the lower half of 
the space where the body should be was enwrapped in 
similarly rolling clouds of pinkish and greyish vapour, 
that is, of auras of a meaner quality than the superior 

At that stage of my occult education I had heard 
nothing about the six chakrams, or psychical evolution- 
ary centres in the human body, which are mentioned in 
Yoga S'astras, and are familiar to every student of Pa- 
tanjali. I therefore did not grasp the significance of 
the two flaming vortices over the cardiac and umbilical 
regions ; but my later acquaintance with the subject 
gives this satin picture an enhanced value, as showing 
that the practical occultist who made it apparently knew 
that, in the process of disentangling the astral from the 
physical body, the will must be focussed in succession 
at the several nerve-centres, and the disengagement 
completed at each in turn before moving on to the next 
centre in the order of sequence. I take the picture to 
mean that Stainton Moses' experiment was being con- 
ducted as an intellectual rather than as a spiritual pro- 

366 Old Diary Leaves 

cess, wherefore he had completely formed and got ready 
for projection his head, while the other parts of his as- 
tral body were in a state of nebulous disturbance, but 
had not yet settled into the stage of rl^pa, or form. The 
blue clouds would represent the pure but not most lumi- 
nous quality of the human aura — described as shining, 
or radiant ; a silvery nimbus. The flecks of gold, how- 
ever, that are seen floating in the blue, typify sparks of 
the spirit, the " silvery spark in the brain," that Bulwer 
so beautifully describes in his Strange Story ; while the 
greyish and pinkish vapours of the inferior portions 
show the auras of our animalistic, corporeal qualities. 
This grey becomes darker and darker as a man's ani- 
malism preponderates over his intellect, his moral and 
spiritual qualities, until in the wholly depraved, as the 
clairvoyants tell us, it is inky black. The aura of adept- 
ship is described as a blended tint of silver and gold, 
as some of my readers, I am sure, must know from per- 
sonal observation, and as the poets and painters of all 
ages have depicted in their sublimer flights of spiritual 
perception. This T^jas or soul-light, shines out through 
the mystic's face, lighting it up with a glow which, once 
seen, can never thereafter be mistaken. It is the " shin- 
ing countenance " of the Biblical angels, the " glory of 
the Lord," the light that beamed in the face of Moses 
when descending from the Mount with such splendour 
that men could not bear to look upon his countenance ; 
a radiance that even transfigures the wearer's robes into 
" shining garments." The Hebrews call it shekinah, and 

Precipitation of Pictures 367 

I once heard the term used by some Bagdad Jews to 
describe the face of a spiritual-minded visitor on that 
occasion. So, too, the word " shining " is applied simi- 
larly by various other nations ; the pure spirits and pure 
men glow with the white light, the vicious and evil ones 
are veiled in blackness. 

In the case of another precipitated portrait, made by 
H. P. B., there was no aura shown : I refer to that of 
an Indian yogi, which is described in Sinnett's Occult 
World and Incidents in the Life of Mme. Blavatsky j the 
documents respecting which were originally published 
in the Spiritualist shortly after the occurrence of the 
incident. It happened in this wise : On my way home 
to " The Lamasery " one day, I stopped at the Lotos Club 
and got some of the club note-paper and envelopes to 
use at home as occasion might require. It was late when 
I reached the house, and H. P. B. was at the dinner 
table already, with Mr. Judge and Dr. Marquette as 
guests. I laid the package of stationery on my desk in 
the writing-room (between which and the dining-room 
there was a dead wall, by the way), made a hurried toilet, 
and went to my seat at the table. At the close of the 
dinner we had drifted into talk about precipitations, and 
Judge asked H. P. B. if she would not make somebody's 
portrait for us. As we were moving towards the writing- 
room, she asked him whose portrait he wished made, and 
he chose that of this particular yogi, whom we knew by 
name as one held in great respect by the Masters. She 
crossed to my table, took a sheet of my crested club- 

368 Old Diary Leaves 

paper, tore it in halves, kept the half which had no im- 
print, and laid it down on her own blotting-paper. She 
then scraped perhaps a grain of the plumago of a Faber 
lead pencil on it, and then rubbed the surface for a min- 
ute or so with a circular motion of the palm of her right 
hand ; after which she handed us the result. On the 
paper had come the desired portrait and, setting wholly 
aside the question of its phenomenal character, it is an 
artistic production of power and genius. Le Clear, the 
noted American portrait painter, declared it unique, dis- 
tinctly an " individual " in the technical sense ; one that 
no living artist within his knowledge could have pro- 
duced. The yogi is depicted in Samddhi, the head drawn 
partly aside, the eyes profoundly introspective and dead 
to external things, the body seemingly that of an absent 
tenant. There is a beard and hair of moderate length, 
the latter drawn with such skill that one sees through the 
upstanding locks, as it were — an effect obtained in good 
photographs, but hard to imitate with pencil or crayon. 
The portrait is in a medium not easy to distinguish ; it 
might be black crayon, without stumping, or black lead ; 
but there is neither dust nor gloss on the surface to in- 
dicate which, nor any marks of the stump or the point 
used : hold the paper horizontally towards the light and 
you might fancy the pigment was below the surface, 
combined with the fibres. This incomparable picture was 
subjected in India later to the outrage of being rubbed 
with india-rubber to satisfy the curiosity of one of our 
Indian members, who had borrowed it as a special favour 



Precipitation of Pictures 369 

" to show his mother," and who wished to see if the pig- 
ment was really on or under the surface ! The effect of 
his vandal-like experiment is now seen in the obliteration 
of a part of the beard, and my sorrow over the disaster 
is not in the least mitigated by the knowledge that it 
was not due to malice but to ignorance and the spirit of 
childish curiosity. The yogi's name was always pro- 
nounced by H. P. B. " Tiravala," but since coming to 
live in Madras Presidency, I can very well imagine that 
she meant Tiruvalluvar, and that the portrait, now hang- 
ing in the Picture Annex of the Adyar Library, is really 
that of the revered philosopher of ancient Mylapur, the 
friend and teacher of the poor Pariahs. As to the ques- 
tion whether he is still in the body or not I can venture 
no assertion, but from what H. P. B. used to say about 
him I always inferred that he was. And yet to all save 
Hindus that would seem incredible, since he is said to 
have written his immortal " Kural " something like a 
thousand years ago ! He is classed in Southern India as 
one of the Siddhas, and like the other seventeen, is said to 
be still living in the Tirupati and Nilgiri Hills ; keeping 
watch and ward over the Hindu religion. Themselves 
unseen, these Great Souls help, by their potent will- 
power, its friends and promoters and all lovers of man- 
kind. May their benediction be with us ! 

In recalling the incidents for the present narrative, I 
note the fact that no aura or spiritual glow is depicted 
around the yogi's head, although H. P. B.'s account of 
him confirms that of his Indian admirers, that he was 

370 Old Diary Leaves 

a person of the highest spirituality of aspiration and 
purest character. 

The same remark applies to the first portrait of my 
Guru, the one done in black and white crayons at New 
York by M. Harrisse : there is no nimbus. In this case 
at least, I can testify to the likeness, along with others 
who have had the happiness of seeing him. Its produc- 
tion was, like that done in oils at London in 1884 by 
Herr Schmiechen, an example of thought-transference. 
I think I have never published the facts before, but in 
any case they should have a place in this historical 

One naturally likes to possess the portrait of a distant 
correspondent with whom one has had important rela- 
tions ; how much more, then, that of a spiritual teacher, 
the beginning of relations with whom has substituted a 
nobler for a commonplace ideal of life in one's con- 
sciousness. I most earnestly wished to be able to have 
in my room at least the likeness of my reverend teacher, 
if I might not see him in life ; had long importuned H. 
P. B. to procure it for me ; and had been promised it at 
a favourable time. In this case my colleague was not 
permitted to precipitate it for me, but a simpler yet 
most instructive method was resorted to : a non-medium 
and non-occultist was made to draw it for me without 
knowing what he was doing. M. Harrisse, our French 
friend, was a bit of an artist, and one evening when the 
conversation turned upon India and Rajput bravery, H. P. 
B. whispered to me that she would try to get him to 

Precipitation of Pictures 

draw our Master s portrait if I could supplj- the materials. 
There were none in the house, but I went to a shop close 
by and purchased a sheet of suitable paper and black 
and white crayons. The shopkeeper did up the parcel, 
handed it me across the counter, took the haif-SrlJar 
CiV'i I gave him, and I left the shop. On reaching home 
I unrolled my parcel and, as I finished doing it, the sum 
of half a dollar, in fzco siVrcr fif.-cs <'/" j j.v j r,-;- '-./.^ll: ?■ ^jcA 
dropped on tlie iloor ! The Master, it will be seen. 
meant to give me his portrait without cost to mj-self. 
Harrisse then asked by H. P. B. to draw us the head 
oi a Hindu chieftain, as he should conceive one might 
look. He said he had no clear idea in his mind to go 
upon, and wanted to sketch us something else ; but to 
gratify my importunity went to drawing a Hindu head. 
H. P. B. motioned me to remain quiet at the other side 
of the room, .and herself went and sat down near the 
artist and quietly smoked. From time to time she went 
softly behind him as if to watch the progress of his work. 
but did not speak until it was finished, say an hour later. 
I thankfully received it, had it framed, and hung it in 
my little bed-room. But a str.inge thing happened. 
After we gave the picture a last glance as it lay before 
the artist, and while H. P. B. was taking it from him 
and handing it to me, the cryptograph signature of my 
Guru came upon the paper ; thus affixing, as it were, hi? 
imprimatur upon, and largely enhancing the value of 
his gift. But at that time I did not know if it resembled 
the Guru or not. as I had not vet seen him. 'WTien I did. 

372 Old Diary Leaves 

later on, I found it a true likeness and, moreover, was 
presented by him with the turban which the amateur 
artist had drawn in the picture as his head-covering. 
Here was a genuine case of thought-transference, the 
transfer of the likeness of an absent person to the brain- 
consciousness of a perfect stranger. Was it or was it 
not passed through the thought of H. P. B. ? I think so. 
I think it was effected in the identical way in which the 
thought-images of geometrical and other figures were 
transferred to third parties in the convincing experiments 
recorded by the S. P. R. in its earlier published reports. 
With the difference, however, that H. P. B.'s own mem- 
ory supplied the portrait to be transferred to Harrisse's 
mind, and her trained occult powers enabled her to 
effect the transfer direct, viz., without an intermediary ; 
that is to say, without the necessity of having the draw- 
ing first made on a card, for her to visualise it in her 
own mind and then pass it on to the recipient brain. 
The painting by Schmiechen, of the magnificent portraits 
in oils of the same and another Master, which now hang 
in the Adyar Library, was an even more interesting cir- 
cumstance, for the likenesses are so perfect and so strik- 
ing as to seem endowed with life. Their eyes speak 
to one and search one to the bottom of his heart ; 
their glance follows one everywhere as he moves 
about ; their lips seem about to utter, as one may deserve, 
words of kindness or of reproach. They are an inspira- 
tion rather than an illustration of thought-transference. 
The artist has made two or three copies of them but 

Precipitation of Pictures 


not one has the soul in i: :r.a: is in the origin.Us. They 
were not done in the di^nne mood of inspir.-.tion. snd the 
Masters' will-power is not foctissed in them. The origi- 
nals are the palladium of onr headquarters : the copies, 
like images seen in a mirror, possess the details of form 
and colour, biit axe devoid of the enercisini: snirit. 


ALL theories and speculations upon the duplex 
corporeity of man, i. e., of his possession of an 
astral, or phantasmal, body as well as a physical body, 
only lead up to the point where one demands proof 
before going further. It is so incredible to the mate- 
rialistic mind as transcending common experience, that 
it is most likely to be pushed aside as a dream than 
accepted as even a working hypothesis. This, in fact, 
has been its handling by the average scientist, and when 
a braver investigator than the ordinary affirms it as his 
belief, he risks that reputation for cold caution which 
is presumed, with laughable inconsistency nevertheless, 
to be the mark of the true scientific discoverer. Yet 
many books as jirecise and suggestive as D'Assier's* have 
been published at different times, chief among them 
being the Phantasms of the Living, by Messrs. Gurney, 
Myers, and Podmore, and present a solid front of facts 

* Posthumous Htijnanity : a Study of Phantoms, 

Projection of the Double 


impossible to deny, however difficult to believe. The 
case seems now to ha^■e been amply proved by the com- 
pilation of several thousand observed phenomena of 
this class : and the time seems to have come when the 
metaphysician who ignores them has no right to claim 
to be regarded as a trustworthy teacher of men. Yet, 
while the reason may be convinced by this array of 
facts, the real existence of the astral body, and the 
possibilit)' of its separation from the physical " sheath " 
during life can only be known in one of two ways — by 
one's seeing the astral body of another person, or by 
projecting one's own and viewing one's phj"sical body 
ah cxtrd. With either of these experiences, one can say 
he KNOWS ; with both, his knowledge becomes absolute 
and unshakable. I have had both. I take the witness- 
stand, and testify to the truth for the helping of my 
fellow-workers. I pass over with a bare mention the 
incidents of my seeing H. P. B. in her astral body in a 
New York street, while her physical body was in Phila- 
delphia ; of my seeing similarly a friend who was then 
in bodv in a Southern State, several hundred miles 
.iwav ; of seeing in an American railway train and on an 
American steamboat, a certain adept then physically in 
Asia ; of receiving from the hand of another, at Jummu, 
a telegram sent me there by H. P. B. from Madras, and 
delivered to me by t'ne adept under the guise of the 
Kashmiri telegraph-peon, whose appearance he borrowed 
momentarily for the purpose, and dissolved a moment 
later in full moonlight when I stepped to the door to 

376 Old Diary Leaves 

watch him ; of being saluted on Worli Bridge, Bombay, 
by another of these majestic men on another tropical even- 
ing as H. P. B., Damodar, and I sat in our phaeton enjoy- 
ing the heat lightning and the cooling breeze off the sea ; 
of seeing him moving towards us from a little distance, 
advance to the very carriage side, lay his hand on H. P. 
B.'s, walk fifty yards away, and suddenly disappear from 
our sight on the causeway, bare of trees, shrubs, or other 
places of concealment, in the full sheen of the lightning : 
I pass these and other such experiences, and come to the 
one which of all was the most momentous in its conse- 
quences upon the course of my life. The story has been 
told before, but it had its place in the present retrospect, 
for it was the chief among the causes of my abandon- 
ment of the world and my coming out to my Indian 
home. Hence it was one of the chief factors in the 
upbuilding of the Theosophical Society. I do not mean 
to say that without it I should not have come to India, for 
my heart had been leaping within me to come, from the 
time when I learned what India had been to the world, 
what she might be made again. An insatiable longing 
had possessed me to come to the land of the Rishis and 
the Buddhas, the Sacred Land among lands ; but I could 
not see my way clear to breaking the ties of circumstance 
which bound me to America, and I might have felt com- 
pelled to put it off to that " convenient season " which 
so often never comes to the procrastinator and waiter 
upon the turn of events. This experience in question, 
however, settled my fate ; in an instant doubts melted 

Projection of the Double 377 

away, the clear foresight of a fixed will showed the way, 
and before the dawn of that sleepless night came, I be- 
gan to devise the means and to bend all things to that 
end. The happening was thus : 

Our evening's work on Isis was finished, I had bade 
good-night to H. P. B., retired to my own room, closed 
the door as usual, sat me down to read and smoke, and 
was soon absorbed in my book ; which, if I remember 
aright, was Stephens' Travels in Yucatan ; at all events, 
not a book on ghosts, nor one calculated in the least to 
stimulate one's imagination to the seeing of spectres. 
My chair and table were to the left in front of the door, 
my camp-cot to the right, the window facing the door, 
and over the table a wall gas-jet. The following simple 
ground plan will convey the correct idea of the premises 
of the " Lamasery," although not accurate as to the 

Explanation. — A, our working and only reception 
room ; B, bed-room of H. P. B. ; C, my bed-room ; D, 
a small, dark bed-room ; E, passage ; F, kitchen ; G, 
dining-room ; H, bath-room ; I, hanging closet ; J, 
exterior door of the flat opening upon the house staircase ; 
always closed with a spring-latch and locked at night. 
In my room, a is the chair where I sat reading ; b the 
table ; c the chair where my visitor seated himself during 
the interview ; J my camp-cot. In our work-room e is 
where the cuckoo clock hung, and/ the place of the 
hanging shelves against which I bruised myself. In B, 
g represents the place of H. P. B.'s bed. The door of 


Old Diary Leaves 

my room, it will be seen, was to my right as I sat, and 
any opening of it would have at onrc been noticed ; the 
more so, since it was locked, to the best of my present 
recollection. That I am not more positive will not seem 
strange in view of the mental excitement into which the 
passing events threw me ; events so astonishing as to 
make me forget various minor details which, under a 
cooler frame of mind, would perhaps have been retained 
in my memory. 

Eighth Avenue 

1 1 


1 1 

o c 

Ub C dW 

a a 
II 11 




: D^ B 



\ H 

F ; 


Projection of the Double 379 

I was quietly reading, with all my attention centered 
on my book. Nothing in the evening's incidents had 
prepared me for seeing an adept in his astral body ; I 
had not wished for it, tried to conjure it up in ray fancy, 
nor in the least expected it. All at once, as I read with 
my shoulder a little turned from the door, there came a 
gleam of something white in the right-hand corner of 
my right eye ; I turned my head, dropped my book in 
astonishment, and saw towering above me in his great 
stature an Oriental clad in white garments, and wearing 
a head-cloth or turban of amber-striped fabric, hand- 
embroidered in yellow floss-silk. Long raven hair hung 
from under his turban to the shoulders ; his black beard, 
parted vertically on the chin in the Rajput fashion, was 
twisted up at the ends and carried over the ears ; his 
eyes were alive with soul-fire ; eyes which were at once 
benignant and piercing in glance ; the eyes of a mentor 
and a judge, but softened by the love of a father who 
gazes on a son needing counsel and guidance. He was 
so grand a man, so imbued with the majesty of moral 
strength, so luminously spiritual, so evidently above aver- 
age humanity, that I felt abashed in his presence, and 
bowed my head and bent my knee as one does before a 
god or a god-like personage. A hand was lightly laid on 
my head, a sweet though strong voice bade me be seated, 
and when I raised my eyes, the Presence was seated in 
the other chair beyond the table. He told me he had 
come at the crisis when I needed him ; that my actions 
had brought me to this point ; that it lay with me alone 

380 Old Diary Leaves 

whether he and I should meet often in this life as co- 
workers for the good of mankind ; that a great work 
was to be done for humanity, and I had the right to share 
in it if I wished ; that a mysterious tie, not now to be 
explained to me, had drawn my colleague and myself 
together ; a tie which could not be broken, however 
strained it might be at times. He told me things about 
H. P. B. that I may not repeat, as well as things about 
myself, that do not concern third parties. How long he 
was there I cannot tell : it might have been a half-hour 
or an hour ; it seemed but a minute, so little did I take 
note of the flight of time. At last he rose, I wondering 
at his great height and observing the sort of splendour 
in his countenance — not an external shining, but the 
soft gleam, as it were, of an inner light — that of the 
spirit. Suddenly the thought came into my mind : 
" What if this be but hallucination ; what if H. P. B. 
has cast a hypnotic glamour over me ? I wish I had some 
tangible object to prove to me that he has really been 
here ; something that I might handle after he is gone ! " 
The Master smiled kindly as if reading my thought, un- 
twisted the fe hid from his head, benignantly saluted me in 
farewell and — was gone : his chair was empty ; I was alone 
with my emotions ! Not quite alone, though, for on the 
table lay the embroidered head-cloth ; a tangible and 
enduring proof that I had not been " overlooked," or 
psychically befooled, but had been face to face with one 
of the Elder Brothers of Humanity, one of the Masters 
of our dull pupil-race. To run and beat at H. P. B.'s 

Proiection of the D^jble 

i.-sr rej:.. e; ceveior-ec 

Icvilrr r.? :hc 

v.f-^-^-_- -i- 

:e-; trr-icj 


382 Old Diary Leaves 

circumstance of my having actually made in 1870 the 
voyage across the Atlantic with two Hindu gentlemen, 
one of whom was later our close friend at Bombay — 
Mooljee Thackersey — entirely slipped out of my mind. 
This was a clear case of amnesia (loss of memory) for I 
had not the least intention or interest in concealing so 
commonplace a circumstance ; the meeting of 1870, 
fourteen years before the examination of me by the S. 
P. R., had left no such mark in my memory as to be 
recalled in my moment of anger, and so the force of my 
testimony was weakened to that extent. A meeting with 
Hindus five years or so before I knew H. P. B., and, 
through her, the real India, would not have been of para- 
mount importance to a man of such multifarious ac- 
quaintanceships and adventures as myself. Yes, it was 
amnesia ; but amnesia is not lying, and my story is true, 
even though some may doubt it. And this is the fitting 
place for me to say that, as some of my chapters were 
written while travelling, away from my books and papers, 
and especially as much of it is written from memory only 
of the long-past events, I beg indulgence for any unin- 
tentional mistakes that may be discovered. I try my 
best to be accurate and certainly shall be truthful. 

I now pass on to my personal experiences in projec- 
tions of the Double. In connection with this phenome- 
non let me give a word of caution to the less advanced 
student of practical psychology ; the power of with- 
drawing the astral body from the physical is no necessary 
proof of high spiritual development. The contrary is 

Projection of the Double 383 

believed, by perhaps the majority of dabblers in occult- 
ism, but they are wrong. A first and sufficient proof is 
that the emergence of the astral body happens very often 
with men and women who have given little or no time to 
occult research, have followed no yogic system, have 
made no attempts to do the thing, have usually been 
frightened or much ashamed and vexed when convicted 
of it, and have not been in the least remarkable above 
the average of persons for purity of life and thought, 
spirituality of ideal, or the " gifts of the spirit " of which 
the Scripture speaks; often the very opposite. Then, 
again, the annals of the Black Art teem with number- 
less instances of the visible, and invisible (save clairvoy- 
antly), projection of the Double by wicked persons bent 
on mischief ; of bilocations, hauntings of hated victims, 
lycanthropical masqueradings, and other " damnable 
witchcrafts." Then, again, there are the three or four 
or more thousand cases of projections of the Double by 
all sorts and conditions of men, some no better than they 
should be, if not a good deal worse occasionally, that 
have been recorded and winnowed down by the S. P. R., 
and the yet more thousands not garnered into their cast- 
iron granary ; all combining to prove the truth of my 
warning, that one must not in the least take the mere fact 
that a certain person can travel — whether consciously or 
unconsciously it matters not — in the astral body as evi- 
dence that that person is either better, wiser, more spiritu- 
ally advanced, or better qualified to serve as Guru, than 
any other person not so endowed. It is simply the sign 

384 Old Diary Leaves 

that the subject of the experience has, either congenitally 
or by subsequent effort, loosened the astral body in its 
sheath, and so made it easier for it to go out and return 
again, when the outer body is naturally or hypnotically 
asleep, hence unobstructive. The reader will recall, in 
this connection, the satin picture of M. A. Oxon's ex- 
periments in this direction which H. P. B. made for me. 
Somehow or other, I have never found the time for self- 
training in yoga since I took up my line of practical 
work in our theosophical movement. I never seemed to 
care whether I acquired any psychical powers or not, 
never aspired to guruship, nor cared whether I could or 
could not attain Liberation during this life. To serve 
mankind always seemed to me the best of yogas, and the 
ability to do even a little towards spreading knowledge 
and diminishing ignorance, an ample reward. So it 
never entered my mind in the early days that I might 
train myself as a seer or a wonder-worker, a metaphysi- 
cian or an adept ; but I have been going on all these 
years on the hint given me by a Master, that the best way 
to seek them was through the Theosophical Society : a hum- 
ble sphere, perhaps, yet one well within my limited capa- 
bilities, thoroughly congenial and at the same time useful. 
In telling about my early goings out of the body, I must 
not be thought, therefore, to be pluming myself upon my 
supposed high spiritual development, nor intending to 
boast of special cleverness as a psychic. The fact is, I 
presume, I was helped to get this, along with many other 
psychical experiences, as a basis of the special education 

Projection of the Double 385 

needed by one who had such work as mine cut out for 

Here is one of my facts : H. P. B. and I had one even- 
ing in 1876, while we were living in AVest 34th St.,* fin- 
ished writing a chapter of the original draft of Isis 
Unveiled, and on parting for the night, laid away the great 
pile of " copy " in a pasteboard box, with the first page 
on top, the last at the bottom of the heap. She occupied 
the flat directly under my own, in the second story of the 
apartment-house, and both of us, of course, locked our 
outer doors to keep out thieves. AVhile undressing it 
occurred to me that if I had added certain three words 
to the final sentence of the last paragraph, the sense of 
the whole paragraph would have been strengthened. I 
was afraid I might forget them in the morning, so the 
whim came to me that I might try to go down to the 
writing-room below stairs in my Double and perhaps 
write them phenomenally. Consciously, I had never 
travelled thus before, but I knew how it must be at- 
tempted, viz., by fixing the intention to do it firmly in 
the mind when falling asleep, and I did so. I knew 
nothing more until the next morning, when, after dressing 
and taking my breakfast, I stopped in at H. P. B.'s flat 
to bid her good-bye on my way to my office. " Well," 
she said, " pray tell me what the deuce you were doing 
here last night after you went to bed ? " " Doing," I 
replied, " what do you mean ? " " Why," she rejoined, 

* Not the " Lamasery," but the place we occupied before going 


386 Old Diary Leaves 

" I had got into bed and was lying there quietly, when 
lo ! I saw my Olcott's astral body oozing through the 
wall. And stupid and sleepy enough you seemed, too ! 
I spoke to you, but you did not reply. You went to the 
writing-room and I heard you fumbling with the papers ; 
and that 's all. What were you about ? " I then told 
her of my intended experiment : we went together into 
the other room, emptied out the pile of MS., and on the 
last page, at the end of the concluding paragraph, found 
two of the intended three words fully written out in my 
own handwriting and the third begun, but not finished : 
the power of concentration seeming to have become 
exhausted, and the word ending in a scrawl ! How I 
handled the pencil, if I did handle it, or how I wrote 
the words without handling it, I cannot say : perhaps I 
was able just that once to precipitate the writing with 
the help of one of H. P. B.'s benevolent elementals, by 
utilising molecules of the plumbago from either of the 
lead pencils lying on the table along with the manuscript. 
Be it as it may, the experience was useful. 

The reader should take note of the fact that my wri- 
ting in the phenomenal way stopped at the point where, 
from inexperience, I let my will wander away from the 
work in hand. To fix it immovably is the one thing 
indispensable, just as it is the necessary concomitant of 
good work on the normal intellectual plane. In the 
Theosophist for July, 1888 (Art. " Precipitated Pictures at 
New York"), I explained the connection between the 
concentration of trained will-power and the permanency 

Projection of the Double 387 

of precipitated writings, pictures, and other similar proofs 
of the creative power of the mind. I instanced the very 
interesting and suggestive details of the projection of 
the Double and the precipitation of writing, given by 
Wilkie Collins in his novel, The Two Destinies — a book, 
in its way, as well worth reading by any student of 
occultism,* as Zanoni, A Strange Story, or The Coming 
Jiaie. I cited, further, the case of the Louis portrait 
precipitated for Mile. Liebert and myself, which faded 
out by the next morning, but was caused by H. P. B. to 
subsequently reappear at Mr. Judge's request, and to be so 
" fixed " as to be still as sharp and fresh after the lapse of 
many years as when first made. But no amount of read- 
ing or experimentation at second hand can compare with 
even one little original experience, like the one of mine 
above described, in its power to make one realise the 
truth of the universal cosmic operation of thought cre- 
ating form. The s'loka Bah^syam Prajdyeyaiti, etc. 
(Vlth Anuvdka, 2nd Valli, Taittiryiaka-Upanishad), 
" He (Brahma) wished, may I be many, may I grow forth. 
He brooded over himself. After he had thus brooded, 
he sent forth all, whatever there is. Having sent forth, 
he entered it ; " is to me profoundly instructive. It has 
a meaning immeasurably deeper, truer, more suggestive 
to one who has himself meditated axid. then created form, 

* It was this article which caused Mr. Collins to write me that, 
among the incidents of his life, none had more surprised him than his 
finding from my notice of his book that he had by the viere exercise 
of the imagination, apparently stumbled on one of the mysterious laws 
of occult science. 

388 Old Diary Leaves 

than to him whose eyes have but read the words on the 
page, without the echoing assent coming from within 
one's being. 

I recall another case of my projecting my Double, 
which illustrates the law known as " repercussion." The 
reader may find the amplest materials for forming a cor- 
rect opinion on this subject in the literature of Witch- 
craft, Sorcery, and Magic. The word " repercussion " 
means, in this connection, the reacting upon one's physi- 
cal body of a blow, stab, or other injury, inflicted upon 
the Double while it is projected and moving about as a 
separate entity : " bilocation " is the simultaneous appear- 
ance of a person in two places ; one appearance that of 
the physical, the other that of the astral bod)', or Double. 
M. d'Assier discusses both in his Posthumous Humanity, 
and in my English version of that excellent work, I add 
remarks of my own upon the subject. Speaking of the 
infliction of injuries upon their victims by sorcerers who 
could duplicate their bodies and visit them in the Double, 
the author says (p. 224) : "The sorceress entered into 
the house of him against whom she had a revenge to 
gratify, and vexed him in a thousand ways. If the lat- 
ter were resolute, and had a weapon available, it would 
often happen that he would strike the phantom, and 
upon recovering from her trance, the sorceress would 
find upon her own body the wounds she had received in the 
phantasmal struggle." 

Des Mousseaux, the Catholic writer against Sorcery 
and other " black arts,'' quotes from the judicial archives 

Projection of the Double 389 

of England, the case of Jane Brooks, who persecuted a 
child named Richard Jones after a very malicious fash- 
ion. At one of her visitations, the child screamed out 
that the phantom of Jane was present and pretended to 
touch it with the point of his finger. A witness named 
Gilson, springing to the place indicated, slashed at it 
with a knife, although the phantom was visible only to 
the child. The house of Jane Brooks was at once visited 
by Gilson, with the child's father and a constable, and 
she was found sitting on her stool holding one of 
her hands with the other. She denied that anything had 
happened to her hand, but the other being snatched 
away, the concealed one was found covered with blood, 
and bearing just such a wound as the child had said had 
been inflicted on the hand of the phantom by Gilson's 
knife. A great number of similar cases are on record, 
all going to prove that any accident or injury to the pro- 
jected Double reacts and reproduces itself upon the 
physical body in the identical spot.* This brings me to 
my own experience. 

In our writing-room at the " Lamaserj' " there hung 
upon the wall, beside the chimney, a Swiss cuckoo-clock, 

* The exact duplexity of the astral and physical bodies in man has 
been affirmed from the remotest ages. It is the Eastern theory that 
the astral man is the product of his past Karma, and that it moulds 
the outer encasement according to its own innate qualities, making it 
i» visible representation of the same. This idea is succinctly em- 
bodied in the verse in Spenser's Faerie Queene : 

' ' For of the soul the body form doth take. 
For soul is form, and doth the body make." 

390 Old Diary Leaves 

which it was my methodical custom to wind up nightly 
before retiring to my own room. One morning, on 
going to my toilet-glass after my bath, I noticed that my 
right eye was black and blue, as though I had received 
a blow from a fist. I could not account for it in the 
least, and I was the more puzzled on finding that I had 
no pain in the injured part. In vain I racked my brain 
for an explanation. In my bed-room there was no post, 
pillar, projecting corner, or other obstruction from which 
I could have received injury, supposing that I had been 
walking about in my sleep — a habit I had never acquired, 
by the way. Then, again, a shock, rude enough to have 
blackened my eye like this, must, of necessity, have 
wakened me instantaneously at the time, whereas I had 
slept the night through as quietly as usual. So my be- 
wilderment continued, until I met H. P. B. and a lady 
friend, who had shared her bed that night, at the break- 
fast table. The lady friend gave me the clue to the 
enigma. She said : " Why, Colonel, you must have hit 
yourself last night when you came in to wind the cuckoo 
clock ! " " Wind the clock," I replied, " what do you 
mean by that ? Did you not lock the door when I went 
to my room ? " " Yes," she said, " I locked it myself ; 
and how tvsr couldyoxi have come in ? Yet both Madame 
and I saw you pass the sliding-doors of our bed-room 
and heard you pulling the chain to wind the clock. I 
called, but you did not answer, and I saw nothing more." 
Well, then, I thought, if I did enter the room in my 
Double and wind the clock, two things are inevitable, (a) 

Projection of the Double 391 

the clock must show that it was wound last night and 
not have run down : (^) there must be some obstacle on 
my path between the door and the opposite chimney 
agamst which I could have hit my eye. We examined 
the premises and found : 

1. That the clock was going and had apparently been 
■wound up at the usual time. 

r. Just near the door hung a small hanging book- 
shelf, the farthest front corner of one of whose shelves 
was of the exact height to catch my eye if I had run 
against it. Then there came back to me the dim recol- 
lection of myself moving towards the door from the tar 
side of the room, with my right hand outstretched as if 
to feel for the door, a sudden shock, " the seeing of 
stars " — as it is commonly expressed — and then oblivion 
until morning. 

That is curious, it seems to me ; very curious that a 
blow which, received up>on the physical head, must al- 
most inevitably have at once awakened one, should, 
when falling upon the projected Double, have left its mark behind it by repercussion upon the 
physical body, without bringing me to consciousness. 
And the case is instructive in other aspects, as well. It 
shows that, provided the conditions are favourable for 
the slipping of the Double out of the physical body, the 
" duplication " is likely to occur under the stimulus of a 
thought-prepossession, for instance, that of a daily habit 
of doing any certain thing at a fixed hour. Supposing 
the conditions unfavourable tor " projection " or " dupli- 

392 Old Diary Leaves 

cation," the subject would, under another set of condi- 
tions, become somnambulistic, rise from bed, go and do 
what was on his or her mind, and return to bed and to 
deep slumber without remembering anything that had 
occurred. The editors of the English version of the 
Dabistan say : " It is impossible to fix the epoch at 
which particular opinions and practices originated. . . 
particularly the belief that a man may attain the faculty 
to quit and to reassume his body, or to consider it as a 
loose garment, which he may put off at pleasure for 
ascending to the world of light, and on his return be 
reunited with the material elements. All these matters 
are considered very ancient " (^Dabistan, Preface, 
Ixxix). One of my most interesting experiences has 
been to encounter persons in different parts of the 
world, until then strangers, who have averred that they 
had seen me in public places, that I had visited them in 
the astral body, sometimes talked on occult matters with 
them, sometimes healed them of diseases, sometimes 
even gone with them on the astral plane to visit our 
Masters ; yet without my keeping any remembrance of 
the several incidents. Yet, when one comes to think of 
it, it is not so improbable, after all, that one whose 
whole life and every waking thought and wish is bound 
up in this great movement of ours ; who has no desire 
save for its success, no ambition save to push it forward 
to its ultimate goal, should carry his prepossession into 
the realms of sleep, and float through the currents of the 
Astral Light towards the kindred beings who are held 

Projection of the Double 


by the same magnet to the same attractive centre of wish 
and aspiration. In its truest sense — 

" It is the secret sympathy. 
The silver link, the silver tie, 
Which heart to heart, and mind to mind. 
In body and in soul can bind." 


IF I should fail to introduce the episode of our brief 
and upleasant connection with Swami Dyinand 
Sarasvati and his Arya Samaj, this could not be called a 
true history of the beginnings of our Society. I should pre- 
fer to omit it altogether if I could, for it is not agreeable to 
record the details of vanished hopes, bitter misunderstand- 
ings, and faded illusions. Now that both H. P. B. and 
the Swami are dead, and that sixteen years have passed 
since we voted for a blending of the two societies to- 
gether, I feel at liberty to give the clue to what has been 
hitherto a sort of mystery as regards the incident, and 
to explain the hidden causes of the union and subsequent 
quarrel between the great Pandit and ourselves. 

I have told all that concerns the formation of the 
Theosophical Society ; how it originated ; what were its 
avowed aims and objects ; and how it gradually faded 
into a small, compact body, of which the two Founders 
were the dual energy : a mere nucleus of the present 


Swami Dyanand 395 

organisation. I make bold to say that not a line can be 
produced which goes to show that our religious opinions 
were ever concealed or misrepresented, to whatsoever 
exoteric creed our correspondents may have belonged. 
If, therefore, Swami Dyinand and his followers ever 
misunderstood our position and that of the Theosophi- 
cal Society, the fault was theirs, not ours. Our two 
hearts drew us towards the Orient, our dreams were of 
India, our chief desire to get into relations with the 
Asiatic people. No way, however, had yet opened on 
the physical plane, and our chance of getting out to our 
Holy Land seemed very slight, until one evening in the 
year 1877 an American traveller, who had recently been 
in India, called. He happened to sit so that, in looking 
that way I noticed on the wall above him the framed 
photograph of the two Hindii gentlemen with whom I 
had made the Atlantic passage in 1870. I took it down, 
showed it to him, and asked if he knew either of the 
two. He did know Moolji Thackersey and had quite 
recently met him in Bombay. I got the address, and by 
the next mail wrote to Moolji about our Society, our 
love for India and what caused it. In due course he 
replied in quite enthusiastic terms, accepted the offered 
diploma of membership, and told me about a great 
Hindii pandit and reformer, who had begun a powerful 
movement for the resuscitation of pure Vedic religion. 
At the same time he introduced to my notice, in com- 
plimentary terms, one Hurrychund Chintamon, Presi- 
dent of the Bombay Arya Samaj, with whom I chiefly 

39^ Old Diary Leaves 

corresponded thereafter ; and whose evil treatment of us 
on arrival at Bombay is a matter of history. The latter 
nominated several Hindu gentlemen of Bombay for 
membership, spoke most flatteringly of Swami Dyinand, 
and brought about an exchange of letters between the 
latter and myself as chiefs of our respective societies. 
Mr. Hurrychund wrote to me, on reading my explana- 
tions of our views as to the impersonality of God — an 
Eternal and Omnipresent Principle which, under many 
different names, was the same in all religions — that the 
principles of the Arya Samaj were identical with our 
own, and suggested that, in that case, it was useless to 
keep up two societies, when by amalgamating we would 
increase our powers of usefulness and our chances of 
success.* Neither then nor ever since have I cared for 
the empty honour of leadership, and so I was but too 
glad to take second place under the Swami, whom I 
was made to look up to as immeasurably my superior 
in every respect. The letters of my Bombay corre- 
spondents, my own views about Vedic philosophy, the 
fact of his being a great Sanskrit pandit and actually 
playing the part of a Hindd Luther, prepared me to be- 
lieve without difficulty what H. P. B. told me later about 
him. This was neither more nor less than that he was 
an adept of the Himalayan Brotherhood inhabiting the 
Swami's body ; well known to our own teachers, and in 
relations with them for the accomplishment of the work 

* For a full statement of the case, with documentary proofs, see 
Extra Supplement, Theosofhist, July, 1882. 

Swami Dvanand ;o; 

he had in hand. AVhat -ivonder that I was as ready as 
possible to fall in with Hurrychund's scheme to amalga- 
mate the T. S. with the Arya Samaj, and to sit at the 
S« ami's feet as pupil under a master I To make such 
a connection I should have been ready, if required, to 
be his servant and to have rendered him glad ser\-ice for 
years to come, withoac hope of re" j.rd. So. the matter 
being explained to my colleagues in New York, our 
Council, in May, 1S7S, passed a vote to unite the two 
societies and change the title of ours to " The Theosophi- 
cal Society of the Ar)-a Samaj." This was notified to 
the Swami, and in due time he returned to me the draft 
of a new Diploma (now before me as I write) which I 
had sent him, signed, as requested, with his name and 
staraped with his own seal. I had this engraved, issued 
r. ;o a few members who wished to enlist under the new 
scheme, and put forth a circular reciting the principles 
under which we intended to work. 

S. ar all went well, but, in due course, I received 
from India an English translation of the rales and doc- 
trines of the Ari,a Samaj, made by Fandit Shyamji 
Krishnavarma, a protege of the S" ami's, which gave us 
.-. great shock — gave me, at least. Nothing could have 
been c.earer than that the Swami's views had radically 
changed since the preceding August, when the Lahore 
Arya Sam.ij published his defence of Ms J7..\; I!^Js\\\: 
against the attacks of his critics, in the course of which 
he quoted approvingly the opinions of Frof. ^^ax Miiller, 
Messrs. Colebrooke, G.trrett, and others, that the God of 

398 Old Diary Leaves 

the Vedas was an impersonality. It was evident that 
the Samaj was not identical in character with our Society, 
but rather a new sect of Hinduism — aVedicsect accept- 
ing Swami Dydnand's authority as supreme judge as to 
which portions of the Vedas and Shastras were and were 
not infallible. The impossibility of carrying out the in- 
tended amalgamation became manifest, and we immedi- 
ately reported that fact to our Indian colleagues. The 
Theosophical Society resumed its status quo ante ; and 
H. P. B. and I drafted and the Council put out two 
circulars, one defining what the Theosophical Society 
was, the other (dated September, 1878), defining a new 
body, the " Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj of 
Aryavart," as a bridge between the two mother societies, 
giving in detail the translation of the A. S. rules, etc., 
and leaving our members perfectly free to join the 
"link-society," as I called it, and comply with its by- 
laws, or not. 

Our London Branch, which after more than two years 
of preliminary pourparlers, had formally organised on 
the 27th June, 1878, under the title of the " British Theo- 
sophical Society,"* issued its first public circular as 
" The British Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj of 
Aryavart.'' If the digression may be excused, I will 
quote here, for their historical interest, some passages 
out of my copy of this circular, viz. : 

* Under the presidency of the late Dr. Anna Kingsford, the 
Branch name was changed in the year 1884 to that of the " London 
Lodge of the Theosophical Society," which it still bears. 

Swami D\-anand 399 

" I. 1 ~e Br;;:jr. Tr-eosophicil S.'cierv is founcec fcr 
the rurtx'je of d'.50v?ver;nj: tie n.-.:ure .ir.d powers of :ie 

" -. The oh;ec: of the S:-o;ety :> to ir.cre.ise the 
araov.r.t of huz^.ir. he-.Ith, goodriess, k~owled;e, wisdo", 

" 5. The r ehowj plecge then-jelve? to endeavour, to 
the Vest of their vo-.vers, to live .^ life of :e:"reri-oe. 
tv.rity, and hr,~:hetiy love. They believe in i Great 
First Intelliient Cause, and in the Divine Sonship of the 
spirit of man. .md henoe in the intmortality of th..: spirit. 

"4. The ^.''oietv is m oonneotton .".nd sympathy -^'ith 
the Ana Santa; of Arravart, one objeot of which So- 
ciety is to elevate, by a trae education, 
kmd out of degenerate, ido-utrous, and impure forms of 
wcn?hiu, v.herever prevalent." 

This 'vas a cle-tr, iranh, .tnd unoh;ection.tMe pro-, t"~e refeatian rf ti~e tone, thouch not of the In b-oth, the aiuirati.''n for the attainment of spir- 
ilu.-J knowledie through ihe study of natural, espevnuly 
of occult, phenomena is declared, as irell .'.5 the brotner- 
hood of m.mkind. In drafting the Ne-^- York circular :t 
occurred to me that the membership of. .-.nd supervising 
entities benind. tne ^ccietv wotnc oe n.itur,t„y irrcupe%iL 
in three ci^ isi rns, r.r.. nev.- members not detached irom. 
v. ,-r^dlv inieresis : punils. liie myse.i. -vno nan witncra^n 
fr:m the sanue or v.- ere readv to do sc ; one tne adepts 

400 Old Diary Leaves 

themselves, who, without being actually members, were 
at least connected with us and concerned in our work as 
a potential agency for the doing of spiritual good to the 
world. With H. P. B.'s concurrence I defined these 
three groups, calling them sections, and sub-dividing 
each into three degrees. This, of course, was in the 
hope and expectation that we should have more practi- 
cal guidance in adjusting the several grades of members 
than we had had — or have since had, I may add. In 
the New York circular. Clause VI. said : 

" The objects of the Society are various. It influences 
its fellows to acquire an intimate knowledge of natural 
law, especially its occult manifestations." 

Then follow these sentences written by H. P. B. : 

" As the highest development, physically and spiritu- 
ally, on earth of the creative cause, man should aim to 
solve the mystery of his being. He is the procreator of 
his species, physically, and having inherited the nature 
of the unknown but palpable cause of his own creation, 
must possess in his inner, psychical self, this creative 
power in lesser degree. He should, therefore, study to 
develop his latent powers, and inform himself respecting 
the laws of magnetism, electricity, and all other forms of 
force, whether of the seen or unseen universes." 

I then proceed as follows : 

" The Society teaches and expects its fellows to per- 
sonally exemplify the highest morality and religious as- 
pirations ; to oppose the materialism of science and 
every form of dogmatic theology . . . ; to make known, 


Swami Dyanand 401 

among Western nations the long-suppressed /acZ? about 
Oriental religious philosophies, their ethics, chronology, 
esoterism, symbolism . . . ; to disseminate a knowledge of 
the sublime teachings of that pure esoteric system of 
the archaic period which are mirrored in the oldest Ve- 
das, and in the philosophy of Gautama Buddha, Zoroas- 
ter, and Confucius ; finally, and chiefly, to aid in the 
institution of a Brotherhood of Humanity, wherein all 
good and pure men of every race shall recognise each 
other as the equal effects (upon this planet) of one Un- 
Create, Universal, Infinite and Everlasting Cause." 

The parenthesis (upon this planet) was written in by 
H. P. B. 

The step we were taking in resuming the Society's au- 
tonomy upon discovering the sectarian character of the 
Arya Samaj, thus drew from us the above categorical 
declaration of principles, in which, the reader will ob- 
serve, were embraced — 

1. The study of occult science ; 

2. The formation of a nucleus of universal brother- 
hood ; and 

3. The revival of Oriental literature and philosophy. 
In short, all the three Declared Objects upon which the 
Theosophical Society has been building itself up during 
the subsequent seventeen years. 

If our Bombay friends had previously been under the 
least misapprehension as regards the aims and principles 
of our Society, the above circular removed the last ex- 
cuse for its continuance. 

402 Old Diary Leaves 

The preamble to the Arya Samaj circular issued by 
us in September, 1878, — three months only before our 
departure for India — called attention to Pandit 
ji's translation of the Samaj rules, embodied in the cir- 
cular, and said : " The observance of these rules is 
obligatory only upon such fellows as may voluntarily 
apply for admission to the Arya Samaj ; the rest will 
continue to be, as heretofore, unconnected with the 
special work of the Samaj." It went on to say that our 
Society, with the design of aiding " in the establishment 
of a Brotherhood of Humanity, had organised sections 
(meaning groups) in which room is provided for persons 
born in the most varied religious faiths, requiring only 
that applicants shall sincerely wish to learn the sublime 
truths first written by the Aryans in the Vedas and in 
different epochs promulgated by sages and seers, and to 
order their lives accordingly. And also, should they so 
desire, labour to acquire that control over certain forces 
of nature which a knowledge of her mysteries imparts 
to its possessor." The occult training and developments 
of H. P. B. and her grade of pupils were here hinted at. 
The phrase shows that tlie chief original motive of the 
Founders of the Society was to promote this kind of 
study ; it being their firm conviction that with the de- 
velopment of the psychical powers and spiritual insight, 
all religious knowledge was attainable, and all igno- 
rant religious dogmatism must vanish. The circular 
adds that " the Society has thus welcomed, and its mem- 
bers dwell in harmony with Buddhists, I.amaists, Tirah- 

Swami Dyanand 403 

manists, Parsis, Confucianists, and Jews," etc., which was 
strictly true, applicants from all these religious bodies 
having already been enrolled as fellows. The incon- 
gruity of this platform with that of the .\rya Saniajis 
unmistakable and seen at a glance. For Rule :r in 
Shyamji's version reads : 

" The four texts of the Vedas shall be received and 
regarded as containing within themselves all that is 
necessary to constitute them an extraordinary authority 
in all matters relating to human conduct." 

Nothing is said here about any other religious scrip- 
ture being an authority in human conduct, nor any 
benevolent interest expressed in the religious welfare of 
non-Yedic peoples ; in short, it is a sectarian body, not 
eclectic. In saying which I pronounce no opinion as to 
whether the Samaj is a good or a bad sect, a conserva- 
tive or a progressi\e one, or whether its establishment 
by the Swami was a blessing or the reverse to India. I 
simply mean that it is a sect, and that, our Society not 
being one and standing upon a quite different platform, 
could not properly be merged by us into the Samaj, 
although we could be and wished to be friends. 

As further showing the arbitran- authority which the 
Swami claimed and exercised in prescribing which of the 
S'astras were and were not " authoritative," I quote, from 
the same Rule 2 of the Arya Samaj, the following : 

"' The Brdhmanas beginning with the Shatapatka ; the 
six Angas or limbs of the Vedas, beginning with the 
Shiksha ; the four Upvedas ; th§ six Darshana? or 

404 Old Diary Leaves 

Schools of Philosophy; and the 1,127 Lectures on the 
Vedas, called Shdkhds, or the branches — these shall be 
accepted as exponents of the meaning of the Vedas, as 
well as of the history of the Aryas. So far as these shall 
concur with the views of the Vedas, they shall be con- 
sidered as ordinary authority." 

Here is defined a sect, a sect of Hinduism, a sect based 
on the lines traced by its founder. The Swami, it will 
be seen, in passing, puts himself in opposition to the 
whole body of orthodox pandits, since he excludes from 
his list of inspirational books many that are held by them 
as sacred. 

For instance, Smritis are omitted by the Swami, as not 
being conclusive authorities. But Manu, Chap. II., 10, 
holds that " Vedas " are " revelations " and " Smritis " 
(Dharma S'Astras) are " traditions " ; these two are irre- 
futable in all matters, for by these two virtues arose. It 
is therefore maintained that Smritis must be respected 
as " authority." 

Things remained thus until the arrival of the Found- 
ers in India and their meeting, soon after, with Swami 
Dyinand at Saharanpur. The chances for our entangle- 
ment in a series of misunderstandings were, of course, 
greatly enhanced by the necessity for the Swami and our- 
selves having to talk with each other through interpreters, 
who, however well up in ordinary English, lacked the 
fluency which would enable them to render correctly our 
views upon the abstruse questions of philosophy, meta- 
physics, and occult science which had to be discussed. 

Swami Dyanand 405 

We certainly were made to understand that Swami Dya- 
nand's conception of God was that of the Vedantic 
Parabrahman, hence in accord with our own. Under 
this mistake — as it afterwards was declared by him to be 
— I lectured at Meerut to the Arya Samaj in his pres- 
ence, and declared that now all causes of misunder- 
standing had been removed and the two societies were 
really twins. Yet it was not so : they were no more 
akin than our Society was with the Brahmo Samaj or any 
Christian or other sect. Disruption was inevitable, and 
in due time it came. The Swami, losing his temper, 
tried to repudiate his own words and acts, and finally 
turned upon us with abuse and denunciations, and put 
forth a circular to the public and posted handbills in 
Bombay to call us charlatans and I do not know what 
else. This forced us in self-defence to state our case 
and produce our proofs, and this was done in an extra 
Supplement to the Theosophist, of date July, 1882, in 
which all the evidence is cited in full and engraved fac- 
simies are given of an important document bearing the 
Swami's signature and the certificate of Mr. Seervai, 
then our Recording Secretary. Thus, after a disturbed 
relationship of about three years, the two societies were 
wrenched apart and each went on its own way. 

The inherent disruptive elements were (i) My discov- 
ery that the Swami was simply that — i. e., a pandit ascetic 
— and not an adept at all ; (2) The fact that the Samaj 
was not standing upon the eclectic platform of the Theo- 
sophical Society ; (3) The Swami's disappointment at 

4o6 Old Diary Leaves 

our receding from our first consent to accept Harischan- 
dra's bid for the amalganation ; (4) His vexation — ex- 
pressed to me in very strong terms — that I should be 
helping the Ceylon Buddhists and the Bombay Parsis to 
know and love their religions better than heretofore, 
while, as he said, both were false religions. I have also 
doubted whether his and our intermediary correspond- 
ent, Hurrychund Chintamon, had ever explained to him 
just what our views and the real platform of our Society 
were. The subsequent discovery of the fact that he 
(Hurrychund) had pocketed the Rs. 600-odd sent him 
by us for the Arya Samaj, and his restitution of tlic 
money at Bombay under H. P. B.'s compulsion, incline 
me to the opinion that he deceived both the Swami and 
ourselves in this respect, and that, but for my getting 
Shyamji's translation of the Samaj Rules, we should 
have gone on under the same misapprehension until 
coming out to India. . 

It is quite useless and waste of room for me to pro- 
ceed further in this affair, since those who care for details 
can find them given at length in the extra Supplement to 
the Theosophist above mentioned. The Swami was un- 
doubtedly a great man, a learned Sanskrit Pandit, with 
immense pluck, forca of will and self-reliance — a leader 
of men. When we first met him, in 1879, he had re- 
cently recovered from an attack of cholera and his 
physique was more refined and delicate than usual. I 
thought him strikingly handsome ; tall, dignified in 
carriage, and gracious in manner towards us, he made a 



■vhe:i 1 "ex: sair hir^ — sr ?f--,.'.r;5, I 'rrl.ev;, j.-.f :"; -■ 
ve^r< l^teT, — he "\:< cuite ^'n,:-;?.^. ^nd ::^: ficc :h; r;:- 
:er. ':\? h.:d cr^ ." ^rejf, :h; :j: f—od in rrl^s on :\:i 
,:I:-n.;de Kxiy. .ind hur.; .1 .^^ v:H;~.hin " ui.-.jf ^< :—:" 
' :5 v.iideT ji-a-. ";-.:> >reAd:h df:r.--^TS-d from h'.< "-.;;>.:. 
<-'' •.h-i; "r.e acr^.il;y s;;r.-.f d to r.-f sh.TreT, ..r.d ihe poe:> 

o^-S of .'. yhoi.^-.rh, irhicli •».:< c^ ;" ";■ in V -nr.frr. 
Inc:,-- He :s :;e.^c: --.-^ ;.^r.e r.o-a, V .-: hf Sizia; s.;r- 

exter.: o: two rr three r-u-v'.rii br.-.-ohei. ?e5..r.: 

drT.-.-.c our reoer,; vis:: ro :he Ihirjili .i-dheJprd r. lir.'.e, 
I hope, to —o'lifr the h.:rh feehrcs ^h:oh the ?.: u^;:ir; 

The -w.rh-. tf ^vtde for ..j .hh .-."d ;: ; hetter 
ih^t -sre xh ;ho_li irv to h. e t:ce;her ii hrethre- 



HP. B. has been mainly dealt with above in her 
^ public capacity ; let us now see how she ap- 
peared in the home. 

But first, does any one know why she so much pre- 
ferred to be called " H. P. B., " and so abhorred the 
title of " Madame " ? That she should not like to be 
addressed by the surname Blavatsky, is not so strange 
when one remembers the facts of that wretched marriage, 
as given by Mr. Sinnett in his Incidents etc. It 
brought neither credit nor happiness to her, nor peace 
to the consort whom she, for a wager, tied to herself, for 
better for worse. Yet before she would marry the 
other Mr. B., at Philadelphia, she stipulated that she 
should not change her surname, and did not, save in the 
subsequent divorce papers, wherein she styles herself by 
her second husband's name. The title " Madame " she 
had a sort of loathing for, as she associated it with a 
female dog of that name that an acquaintance of hers 
owned in Paris, and which was specially disliked by her. 


Mme. Blavatsky at Home 409 

I think the apparent eccentricity of calling herself by 
her three initials had a deeper significance than has been 
generally suspected. It meant that the personality of 
our friend was so blended with those of several of her 
Masters that, in point of fact, the name she bore but 
seldom applied to whatever intelligence was momentarily 
controlling it ; and the Asiatic personage who was 
speaking to you through her lips was certainly neither 
Helena, nor the widow of Genl. Blavatsky, nor a woman 
at all. But each of these shifting personalities contri- 
buted towards the making of a composite entity, the 
sum of them all and of Helena Petrovna herself, which 
might as well be designated " H. P. B." as anything 
else. The case recalls to my mind that of the com- 
posite photograph — an apparently real entity, yet but a 
blending of a dozen or more — which Sir Francis Galton 
first brought to our notice in his Inquiry into Human 
Faculty. My theory may seem untenable, at first sight, 
by those who did not know her so intimately as myself, 
yet I incline to the belief that it is the correct one. 

The routine of our life at the " Lamasery " was the 
following. We breakfasted at about 8, dined at 6, and 
retired at some small hour in the morning, according to 
our work and its interruption by visitors. H. P. B. 
lunched at home and I in town, somewhere near my 
law-office. When we first met I was a very active mem- 
ber of the Lotos Club, but the writing of Isis put an 
end, once for all, to my connection with clubs and 
worldly entanglements in general. After breakfast I 

4io Old Diary Leaves 

left for my office and H. P. B. set herself for work at 
the desk. At dinner, more often than not, we had 
guests, and we had few evenings alone ; for even if no 
visitors dropped in, we usually had somebody stopping 
with us in our apartment. Our house-keeping was of 
the simplest ; we drank no wine or spirits, and ate but 
plain food. We had one maid-of-all-work, or rather a 
procession of them coming and going, for we did not 
keep one very long. The girl went to her home after 
clearing away the dinner things, and thenceforward we 
had to answer the door ourselves. That was not much ; 
but a more serious affair was to supply tea, with milk 
and sugar, for a roomful of guests at, say, i a.m., when 
H. P. B., with lofty disregard of domestic possibilities, 
would invite herself to take a cup, and in a large way 
exclaim : " Let 's all have some : what do you say ? " 
It was useless for me to make gestures of dissent, she 
would pay no attention. So after sundry fruitless mid- 
night searches for milk or sugar in the neighbourhood, 
the worm turned, and I put up a notice to this effect : 

" TEA." 
" Guests will find boiling water and tea in the kitchen, 
perhaps milk and sugar, and will kindly help themselves." 

This was so akin to the Bohemian tone of the whole 
establishment that nothing was thought of it, and it was 
most amusing later on to see the habitues getting up 
quietly and going off to the kitchen to brew tea for 
themselves. Fine ladies, learned professors, famous 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 41 1 

artists and journalists, all jocosely became members of 
our " Kitchen Cabinet," as we called it. 

H. P. B. had not even a rudimentary notion of house- 
keeping. Once, wishing boiled eggs, she laid the raw 
eggs on the live coals ! Sometimes our maid would 
walk off on a Saturday evening and leave us to shift as 
we might for the day's meals. Then was it H. P. B. 
who catered and cooked ? Nay, verily, but her poor 
colleague. She would either sit and write and smoke 
cigarettes, or come into the kitchen and bother. In my 
Diary for 1878, I find this in the entry for April 12 : 
" The servant ' vamosed the ranch ' without preparing 
dinner ; so the Countess L. P. turned in and helped me 
by making an excellent salad. Besides her, we had 
O'Donovan to dinner." He was a rare chap, that Irish- 
man ; a sculptor of marked talent, an excellent com- 
panion, with a dry humour that was irresistible. H. P. B. 
was very fond of him and he of her. He modelled her 
portrait from life in a medallion, which was cast in 
bronze, and which is in my possession. What he may be 
now I know not, but at that time he was fond of a glass of 
good whiskey (if any whiskey may be called good), and 
once made a roomful roar with laughter by a repartee 
he gave to one of the company present. They were 
drinking together, and the person in question after 
tasting his glass, put it down with the exclamation, 
" Pah ! what bad whiskey that is ! " O'Donovan, turn- 
ing to him with solemn gravity, laid a hand upon his 
arm and said : " Don't, don't say that. There is no 

412 Old Diary Leaves 

bad whiskey, but some is better than other." He was a 
Roman Catholic by birth, though nothing in particular, 
it appeared, in actual belief. But, seeing how hot and 
angry H. P. B. would always get when Roman Catholicism 
was mentioned, he used to pretend that he believed that 
that creed would eventually sweep Buddhism, Hinduism, 
and Zoroastrianism from the face of the earth. Although 
he played this trick on her twenty times, H. P. B. was 
invariably caught again in the trap whenever O'Donovan 
set it for her. She would fume and swear, and call him 
an incurable idiot and other pet names, but to no pur- 
pose : he would sit and smoke in dignified silence, with- 
out changing face, as if he were listening to a dramatic 
recitation in which the speaker's own feelings had no 
share. When she had talked and shouted herself out of 
breath, he would slowly turn his head towards some 
neighbour and say : " She speaks well, does n't she ; but 
she don't believe that ; it is only her repartee. She will be 
a good Catholic some day." And then, when H. P. B. ex- 
ploded at this crowning audacity, and made as if to throw 
something at him, he would slip away to the kitchen and 
make himself a cup of tea ! I have known him bring 
friends there just to enjoy this species of bear-baiting ; 
but H. P. B. never nourished malice, and after relieving 
herself of a certain number of objurgations, would be as 
friendly as ever with her inveterate teazer. 

One of our frequent and most appreciated visitors 
was Prof. Alexander Wilder, a quaint personality, the 
type of the very large class of self-educated American 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 413 

yeomanry ; men of the forceful quality of the Puritan 
Fathers ; men of brain and thought, intensely inde- 
pendent, very versatile, very honest, very plucky and 
patriotic. Prof. AVilder and I have been friends since 
before the Rebellion, and I have always held him in the 
highest esteem. His head is full of knowledge, which 
he readily imparts to appreciative listeners. He is not 
a college-bred or city-bred man, I fancy, but if one 
wants sound ideas upon the migration of races and sym- 
bols, the esoteric meaning of Greek philosophy, the 
value of Hebrew or Greek texts, or the merits and de- 
merits of various schools of medicine, he can give them 
as well as the most finished graduate. A tall, lank man 
of the Lincoln type, with a noble, dome-like head, thin 
jaws, grey hair, and language filled with quaint Saxon- 
Americanisms. He used to come and talk by the hour 
with H. P. B., often lying recumbent on the sofa, with — as 
she used to say — " one long leg resting on the chandelier, 
the other on the mantel-piece." And she, as stout as he 
was thin, as voluble as he was sententious and epigram- 
matic, smoking innumerable cigarettes and brilliantly 
sustaining her share of the conversation. She got him 
to write out many of his ideas to use in Isis, and they 
will be found there quoted. The hours would slip 
by without notice until he sometimes found himself too 
late for the last train to Newark, and would have to stop 
in town all night. I think that, of all our visitors, he 
cared about the least of all for H. P. B.'s psychical phe- 
nomena : he believed in their scientific possibility and 

414 Old Diary Leaves 

did not doubt her possession of them, but philosophy 
was his idol, and the wonders of mediumship and adept- 
ship interested him only in the abstract. 

Yet some of H. P. B.'s phenomena were strange enough, 
in all conscience. Besides those heretofore described, I 
find mention of others in my Diary, among them this 
curious one : 

I met one day in the lower part of the city (New York) 
an acquaintance with whom I stopped for a few moments 
to chat. He was very prejudiced against H. P. B., and 
spoke very harshly against her, keeping to his opinion 
despite all I could say. At last he used such objec- 
tionable language that, in sheer disgust, I hastily left him 
and went on my way. I got home as usual in time for 
dinner, and went to my room — the one marked " G " on 
the plan given in Chapter XXIV. was then my sleeping 
apartment — to make my toilet. H. P. B. came along the 
passage to the open door, and from thence bade me 
good evening. The washing-stand was in the N. W. 
corner, opposite the door, and the " hard-finished " white 
wall above it uncovered with pictures or anything. Af- 
ter finishing my washing I turned toward the shaving- 
stand, behind me and just in front of the window, to 
brush my hair, when I saw something of a green colour 
reflected in the glass. A second glance showed it to be 
a sheet of green paper with writing upon it, and to be 
attached to the wall just over the washing-stand where I 
had the moment before been occupied without seeing 
anything save the blank wall before my eyes. I found 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 415 

the paper attached to the plastering by pins at the four 
corners, and the writing to be a number of Oriental 
texts from Dhammapada and Sfltras, written in a pecu- 
liar style and signed at the lower corner by one of the 
Masters. The verses were reproaches to my address for 
having allowed H. P. B. to be reviled without defending 
her ; unmistakably referring to my encounter down town 
with the person I had met, although no names were men- 
tioned. I had not been five minutes in the house since 
my return, had spoken to nobody about the incident, 
nor exchanged with any one in the house more than the 
few words of greeting with H. P. B. from the door of 
my room. In fact, the incident had passed out of my 
mind. This is one of those phenomena of the higher 
class which involve the power of thought-reading, or 
clairaudience at a distance, and either that of producing 
written documents without contact, or of writing them 
in the ordinary way, attaching them to the wall before 
my return home, and then inhibiting my sight so as to 
make them invisible for the moment, but visible the next 
instant by the restoration to me of my normal vision. 
This seems the more probable explanation of the two, 
yet, even then see how fine is the phenomenon, first, in 
the clairaudience at the distance of three miles, and 
then in the inhibition of my sight without arousing the 
slightest suspicion in my mind of the trick being played 
upon me. I had carefully kept this green paper until 
1891, when it was with me on my round-the-world tour, 
and was appropriated by somebody without my permis- 

41 6 Old Diary Leaves 

sion. I should be glad to recover it. Another produc- 
tion of H. P. B.'s has disappeared along with it. It is a 
caricature representing my supposed ordeal of initiation 
into the school of adepts, and a most comical picture it 
is. In the lower foreground I stand with a Hindu fe/i/a 
(turban) as my only article of dress, undergoing a cate- 
chetical examination by Master K. H. In the lower 
right-hand corner a detached hand holds in space a 
bottle of spirits, and a bony bayadere, who looks like a 
starved Irish peasant in a time of potato-blight, is dan- 
cing a J>as de fascination. In the upper corner H. P. B., 
wearing a New Jersey sunhood and "Deccanee men's 
turn-up shoes, and carrying a bell-shaped umbrella with 
a flag marked " Jack " streaming from its point, bestrides 
an elephant and holds out a mammoth hand to " control 
the elements " for my helping, while another Master 
stands beside the elephant watching my ordeal. A funny 
little elemental in a cotton night cap and holding a lighted 
candle, says, " My stars ! what 's that ? " from a perch 
on K. H.'s shoulder, and a series of absurd questions 
and answers written below my Interrogator's book, com- 
plete the nonsensical satire. From this description the 
reader may judge of the joviality of H. P. B.'s tempera- 
ment at that period, and of the kindly license allowed us 
in our dealings with the Teachers. The mere thought 
of such irreverence will doubtless make cold chills to 
run down the spines of some of H. P. B.'s latest pupils. 
I do not know how I could better illustrate this joyous 
exhuberance of hers than by quoting the expression used 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 417 

by a Hartford reporter in writing to his paper. " Ma- 
dame laughed," he writes. " When we write Madame 
laughed, we feel as if we were saying Laughter was pres- 
ent ! for of all clear, mirthful, rollicking laughter that 
we ever heard, hers is the very essence. She seems, 
indeed, the Gcitius of the mood she displays at all times so 
intense is her vitality." This was the tone of our house- 
hold ; and her mirthfulness, epigrammatic wit, briliance 
of conversation, caressing friendliness to those she liked 
or wanted to have like her, fund of anecdote and, chief est 
attraction to most of her callers, her amazing psychical 
phenomena — made the " Lamasery " the most attractive 
salon of the metropolis from 1876 to the close of 1878. 
A very interesting phenomenon is that of duplication 
of objects, the making of two or more out of one. I 
have given some instances above, and here is another 
which was described in the New York correspondence 
of the Hartford Daily Times of December 2, 1878. The 
correspondent passes an evening with us and meets a num- 
ber of other visitors, from one of whom, an English artist, 
he gets the following story of what he saw H. P. B. do : 

" I know it will seem incredible to you, my dear 
fellow," said my friend, " for it does to me as I look back 
upon it ; }et, at the same time, I know my senses could 
not have deceived me. Besides, another gentleman was 
with me at the time. I have seen Madame create things." 
" Create things ! " I cried. " Yes, create things, — produce 
them from nothing. I can tell you of two instances. 

4i8 Old Diary Leaves 

" Madame, my friend, and myself were out one day 
looking about the stores, when she said she desired some 
of these illuminated alphabets which come in sheets, 
like the painted sheets of little birds, flowers, animals, 
and other figures, so popular for decorating pottery and 
vases. She was making a scrap-book, and wished to 
arrange her title page in these pretty colored letters. Well, 
we hunted everywhere but could not find any, until at 
last we found just one sheet, containing the twenty-six 
letters, somewhere on Sixth Avenue. Madame bought 
that one and we went home. She wanted several, of 
course, but not finding them proceeded to use what she 
could of this. My friend and I sat down beside her 
little table, while she got out her scrap-book and busily 
began to paste her letters in. By and bye she exclaimed, 
petulantly, ' I want two S's, two P's, and two A's.' I 
said, ' Madame, I will go and search for them down 
town. I presume I can find them somewhere.' 

" ' No you need not,' she answered. Then, suddenly 
looking up, said, ' Do you wish to see me make some ? ' 

" ' Make some ? How ? Paint some ? ' 
No, make some exactly like these.' 

"'But how is that possible? These are printed by 

" ' It is possible — see ! ' 

" She put her finger upon the S and looked upon it. 
She looked at it with infinite intensity. Her brow ridged 
out. She seemed the very spirit of will. In about half 
a minute she smiled, lifted her finger, took up two S's 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 419 

exactly alike, exclaiming, ' It is done ! ' She did the 
same with the P's. 

■' Then my friend thought : ' It" this is trickery, it can 
be detected. In one alphabet can be but one letter of a 
kind. I will try her.' So he said : ' Madame, supposing 
this time, instead of mating two letters separately, you 
join them together, thus A — A — ?' 

" ' It makes no difference to me how I do it," she re- 
plied indifferently, and placing her finger on the A, in a 
few seconds she took it up, and handed him two A's, 
joined together as he desired. T/uy ;.'£'■;■ .jj- //' sAir/i/r-,/ 
frr"; ih^- samr f-iiw cf paS-r. There were no seams or 
(cxrtificial) joinings of any kind. She had to cut them 
apart to use tlieni. This was in broad dayliglu, in the 
presence of no one but myself and friend, and done 
simply for her own convenience. 

" We were both astounded and lost in admiration. 
We examined these with the utmost c.ire. They seemed 
as much alike as two peas. But if you wish, I can show 
vou the letters this moment. ' Madame, may we take 
vour scrap-book to look at ? ' 

" ■ Certainly, with pleasure,' returned Madame, courte- 
ouslv. We waited impatiently until Mr. P. could open 
the volume. The page was beautifully .Txranged, and 
read thus, in brilliant ler.ers : 

■' Third Volume, Scrap-book of the Theosophic.^l 


Xew York, 1S7S. 
Their Tribulations .and Triumphs, 

420 Old Diary Leaves 

" ' There,' said he, pointing to the S in Scrap and the 
S in Society, ' those are the letters she used, and this is 
the one she made.' There was no difference in them."* 

There was nothing out of the common in the furnish- 
ing and decoration of our apartment save in the dining- 
room and work-room — which was at the same time our 
reception-room and library all in one — and they were 
certainly quaint enough. The dead wall of the dining- 
room which separated it from H. P. B.'s bed-room was 
entirely covered with a picture in dried forest leaves, 
representing a tropical jungle scene. An elephant stood, 
ruminating beside a pool of water, a tiger was springing 
at him from the back-ground, and a huge serpent was 
coiled around the trunk of a palm tree. A very good 
representation of it is given on p. 205 of Frank Leslie's 
Popular Monthly for February, 1892 ; although the pic- 
ture of the room, the Hindu servant bringing in the 
roast, and the dining party at table drinking wine, is 
ridiculously inaccurate. The room was not like the 
picture ; we had no Hindu servant ; we did not have a 
drop of wine or spirits in the house ; our furniture was 

* The reporter, it seems, trusted to his memory, and omitted 
copying down at the time the words of the inscription which — being 
before me at this moment — I find to read as follows : " Ante and 
post natal history of the Theosophical Society, and of the mortifica- 
tions, tribulations and triumphs of its Fellows." The letters H. P. B. 
duplicated are the S's in "History," "Theosophical" and "So- 
ciety," two of them having been made out of the third ; the P'sare 
in " Post" and " Triumphs," and of a smaller size than the S's. She 
seems to have quietly duplicated several other letters, for I find no 
less than eight A's besides other duplicates. 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 421 

totally different from the artist's sketch of it. I have 
never heard of another wall-picture of the sort men- 
tioned, and it seemed to strike all our guests as entirely- 
appropriate in such a home as the " Lamasery." The 
whole forest scene grew out of the covering with autumn 
leaves, of a figure of an elephant cut from brown paper. 
I made another similar invention in the work-room. 
The entrance-door was in an angle made by cutting off 
a corner, and above it the wall formed a square of per- 
haps 4 X 5 ft. One day I found at a curiosity-shop a 
splendidly mounted lioness-head ; the eyes glaring, the 
jaws wide open, the tongue retracted, the teeth white and 
menacing. On getting it home and looking around for 
a place to put it, this square of wall struck my eye, and 
there I hung my trophy. By an arrangement of long, 
dried grasses, I made it seem as though an angry lioness 
were creeping through the jungle and ready to spring 
upon the visitors who chanced to look up at her. It 
was one of our jokes to have new-comers seated in an 
easy chair that faced the door, and enjoy their start 
when their eyes wandered from H. P. B. to glance 
around the room. If the visitor chanced to be a hysteri- 
cal old maid who screamed on seeing the trophy, 
H. P. B. would laugh heartily. In two corners of the 
room I stood palm-fronds that touched the ceiling and 
bent over their tips in graceful curves ; little stuffed 
monkeys peered out over the curtain cornices ; a fine 
stuffed snake lay on top of the mantel mirror, hanging 
its head over one corner ; a large stuffed baboon, decked 

42 2 Old Diary Leaves 

out with a collar, white cravat and pair of my spectacles, 
carrying under one arm the manuscript of a lecture on 
" Decent of Species," and dubbed " Professor Fiske," 
stood upright in a corner ; a fine large grey owl sat 
perched on a bookcase ; a toy lizard or two crawled up 
the wall ; a Swiss cuckoo clock hung to the left of the 
chimney breast ; small Japanese cabinets, carved wooden 
images of Lord Buddha and a Siamese talapoin, curios 
of sorts and kinds, occupied the top of the cottage 
piano, wall brackets, corner 6tageres and other con- 
venient spaces ; a long writing table took up the centre 
of the room ; some book shelves with our scanty library 
rose above its farther end, between the two Eighth 
Avenue windows ; and chairs and a divan or two filled 
up the floor space, so that one had to pick one's way to 
get to the farther end of the chamber. A hanging four- 
light gas chandelier with a drop-light over the table 
gave us the necessary physical illumination ; the other, 
H. P. B. supplied. A pair of sliding glass doors (seldom 
closed) divided the work-room from her little bed-room, 
and on the wall over the doors we constructed a huge 
double triangle of thin punched steel sheets. Altogether 
the room was very artistic and pleasing to its occupants 
and guests, the theme of many a description in news- 
papers and talk among our friends. No frame could 
have been more appropriate for setting off the bizarre 
personahty of its mysterious occupant, H. P. B. Many 
were the pen sketches of the room that appeared in the 
American papers of the day ; among them the following 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 423 

by the same correspondent of the Hartford paper, from 
whose interesting letters the above extracts were copied : 
" Madame was seated in her little work-room and 
parlor, all in one, and we may add her curiosity-shop as 
well, for never was apartment more crammed with odd, 
elegant, old, beautiful, costly, and apparently worthless 
things, than this. She had cigarette in mouth, and scis- 
sors in hand, and was hard at work clipping paragraphs, 
articles, items, criticisms, and other matter, from heaps 
of journals from all parts of the world, relating to her- 
self, to her book, to the Theosophical Society, to any 
and everything connected with her life-work and aims. 
She waved us to a seat, and while she intently read some 
article we had a chance to observe the walls and fur- 
niture of this New York Lamasery. Directly in the 
centre stood a stuffed ape, with a white ' dickey ' and 
necktie around his throat, manuscript in paw, and 
spectacles on nose. Could it be a mute satire on the 
clergy ?* Over the door was the stuffed head of a lion- 
ess, with open jaws and threatening aspect ; the eyes 
glaring with an almost natural ferocity. A god in gold 
occupied the centre of the mantelpiece ; Chinese and 
Japanese cabinets, fans, pipes, implements, and rugs, 
low divans and couches, a large desk, a mechanical bird 
which sang as mechanically, albums, scrap-books, and the 
inevitable cigarette-holders, papers, and ash-pots, made 
the loose rich robe in which the Madame was apparelled 
seem in perfect harmony with her surroundings. A rare, 
* No, on the materialistic scientists. — H. S. O. 

424 Old Diary Leaves 

strange countenance is hers. A combination of moods 
seems to constantly play over her features. She never 
seems quite absorbed by one subject. There is a keen, 
alert, subtle undercurrent of feeling and perception per- 
ceivable in the expression of her eyes. It impressed us 
then, and has invariably, with the idea of a double per- 
sonality : as if she were here, and not here ; talking and 
yet thinking, or acting far away. Her hair, light, very 
thick, and naturally waved, has not a grey thread in it. 
Her skin, evidently somewhat browned by exposure to 
sea and sun, has no wrinkles ; her hands and arms are as 
delicate as a girl's. Her whole personality is expressive 
of self-possession, command, and a certain sangfroid 
which borders on masculine indifference, without for a 
moment overstepping the bounds of womanly delicacy." 
It has been remarked above, if I remember, that what 
made a visit to the Lamasery so piquant, was the chance 
that on any given occasion the visitor might see H. P. B. 
do some wonder in addition to amusing, delighting, or 
edifying him or her with her witty and vivacious talk. 
In a pause in the conversation, perhaps a guest would 
hold up a finger, say " Hush ! " and then, all listening in 
breathless silence, musical notes would be heard in the 
air. Sometimes they would sound faintly far away in 
the distance, then coming nearer and gaining volume 
until the elfin music would float around the room, near 
the ceiling, and finally die away again in a lost chord and 
be succeeded by silence. Or it might be that H. P. B. 
would fling out her hand with an imperious gesture and 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 425 

ping ! ping ! would come, in the air whither she pointed, 
the silvery tones of a bell. Some people fancy that she 
must have had a concealed bell under her dress for play- 
ing her tricks ; but the answer to that is that, not only I 
but others, have, after dinner, before rising from the 
table, arranged a series of finger-glasses and tumblers, 
with various depths of water in them to cause them to 
give out different notes when struck, and then tapping 
their edges with a lead-pencil, a knife-blade, or some 
other thing, have had her duplicate in space every note 
drawn from the " musical glasses." No trick bell worked 
beneath a woman's skirts would do that. Then, again, 
how often have people been present when she would lay 
her hand on a tree-trunk, a house wall, a clock case, a 
man's head, or wherever else she might be asked to try it, 
and cause the fairy bell to ring within the substance of 
the solid body she had her hands in contact with. I 
was with her at Mr. Sinnett's house at Simla when, all of 
us standing on the veranda, she made the musical sounds 
to come towards us on the air of the starlit night, from 
across the dark valley into which descended the hill- 
slope on which the house was built. And I was present 
when she made a bell to ring inside the head of one of 
the greatest of the Anglo-Indian civilians, and another to 
sound inside the coat pocket of another very high civil- 
ian at the other side of the room from where she sat. 

She never could give any satisfactory scientific expla- 
nation of the modus operandi. One day when she and I 
were alone and talking of it, she said : " Now, see here ; 

426 Old Diary Leaves 

you are a great whistler ; how do you form instanta- 
neously any given note you wish to produce ? " I re- 
plied that I could not exactly say how I did it, except 
that a certain arrangement of the lips and compres- 
sion of air within the mouth, the knack of which had 
been acquired by many years of practice, caused each 
note to sound simultaneously with the act of my thinking 
of it. "Well now, tell me : when you would sound a 
note do you think that, to produce it, you must put your 
lips, compress your breath, and work your throat-muscles 
in certain prescribed ways, and then proceed to do it?" 
" Not at all," I said ; " long habit had made the mus- 
cular and pneumatic actions automatic." " Well, then, 
that 's just the thing : I think of a note ; automatically 
or instinctively I work the astral currents by my trained 
will ; I send a sort of cross-current out from my brain 
to a certain point in space, where a vortex is formed 
between this current and the great current flowing in 
the astral light according to the earth's motion, and in 
that vortex sounds out the note I think. Just, you see, 
as the note you mean to whistle sounds in the air-tube 
formed by your lips, when you put them into the right 
position, work your lip and throat-muscles in the right 
way, and force your breath to rush out of this channel 
or lip-orifice. It is impossible for me to explain any 
better. I can do it, but can't tell you how I do it. Now 
try any notes you please and see if I cannot imitate 
them." I struck a note out of one of the tumblers at 
random, and instantly its echo, as if the soul of it ring- 

Mme. Blavatsky at Home 427 

ing in Fairyland, would sound in the air ; sometimes 
just overhead, now in this corner, now in that. She 
sometimes missed the exact note, but when I told her so 
she would ask me to sound it again, and then the note 
would be exactly reflected back to us out of the A'kisha. 

In connection with the above read what Mrs. Speer 
says (JLight, January 28, 1893) about the musical sounds 
that used to accompany M. A. Oxon. 

September igth. — Before meeting this evening we 
heard the ' fairy bells ' playing in different parts of the 
garden where we were walking ; at times they sounded 
far off, seemingly playing at the top of some high elm 
trees, music and stars mingling together, then they would 
approach nearer to us, eventually following us into the 
sdance-room, which opened on to the lawn. After we 
were seated the music still lingered with us, playing 
in the corners of the room, and then over the table round 
which we were sitting. They played scales and chords 
by request, with the greatest rapidity, and copied notes 
Dr. S. made with his voice. After Mr. S. M. was en- 
tranced the music became louder and sounded like bril- 
liant playing on the piano. There was no instrument in 
that room." 

The musical phenomena were evidently identical with 
those of H. P. B., but with the radical difference that she 
produced the sounds at will, while in Stainton Moseyn's 
case they were beyond his control and most brilliant 
when his body was entranced. The Speer Circle had a 
great deal of these " fairy bells" first and last, and, some 

428 Old Diary Leaves 

very unconvincing theories given by the spirits to ac- 
count for them. For instance, Benjamin Franklin's 
alleged spirit told them {Light, March 18, 1893, p. 130) 
that " the sound you call fairy bells represents a spirit 
instrument, one used in the spheres." Yet he adds : 
" We could do much more for you had our medium a 
musical organisation, but it is a bad one for music." 
Why, if it were to be drawn from an instrument ? That 
is almost like saying that Thalberg or Paderevsky could 
play their instrument better if the gasman of the build- 
ing were not deaf in one ear ! We may safely deny the 
" spirit-instrument " theory, for we have the explanation 
in the fact that the more musical the temperament of the 
medium naturally, the more melodious the fairy bells 
can be made to jingle in his presence. Moreover, in the 
case of a medium, the more deeply he is plunged into 
trance, the nearer and clearer may be the tintinnabula- 
tion of the bells, bells, bells ! 


THE elemental messenger of H. P. B. once rang the 
fairy bell with pathetic effect, at the moment when 
her pet canary died. It is fixed indelibly in my memory 
from the fact that it is associated with the recollection of 
H. P. B.'s feeling of genuine sorrow. It was just an 
ordinary little hen canary, not much to look at for beauty, 
but an amazingly industrious housewife ; lovable be- 
cause so evidently honest. I forget where we got her, 
but think H. P. B. brought her from Philadelphia and 
that I bought her mate — a splendid singer — in New 
York. No matter ; we had them a long time and they 
came to be almost like children, as it were. We used to 
let them fly about the room at their pleasure, and the 
male bird would reward us by perching on a picture-frame 
near our work-table and singing most melodiously. The 
hen would light upon our table in the most fearless way, 
walk, chirping, right under our noses, and pick up and 

carry away for nest-building near the ceiling, up in the 


430 Old Diary Leaves 

bronze ornament on the chandelier pipe, any ends of 
twine or other likely materials. She seemed especially 
to value the long thin snippings of paper cut off by 
H. P. B. when pasting and readjusting her foolscap MSS. 
sheets. Little " Jenny " would sometimes wait until her 
mistress had cut off a piece of paper and dropped it on 
the table or floor, and then hop to it and carry it off, to 
the approving song of her handsome husband, " Pip." 
There was a Turkish carpet with fringed ends on the 
floor, and this gave Jenny all she could do. The little 
creature would take one of the strands in her beak, 
brace herself square upon her feet, and then lean back 
and tug and jerk with all her might, trying in vain to 
get it loose. 

The nest-building was finished at last, and then Jenny 
began sitting up aloft over our table, her little head 
showing beyond the edge of the bronze cup, or orna- 
ment, on the gas-pipe. Pip sang his sweetest, and we 
waited for the hatching out of the eggs with pleasurable 
interest. The weeks passed on and Jenny still sat and 
we waited, but no young birds twittered, and we won- 
dered what could be up. At last one day when the bird 
was away after seed and water, I placed a chair on our 
writing-table, H. P. B. held it, and I mounted for a peep. 
The nest was absolutely empty, neither fledgling there 
nor shell, whether full or broken : we had been fooled 
by our busy little canary-hen. H. P. B. gave the only 
possible explanation by saying that " Jenny had been 
sitting on her illusions " ; that is, she had persuaded 

Illusions 431 

herself that she had laid eggs, and that it was her duty 
to hatch them out ! 

All went well with us and the birds for many months, 
but at last our quartette was broken up by the death of 
Jenny. She was found lying at her last gasp on her 
back in her cage. I took her out and placed her in 
H. P. B.'s hand, and we mourned together over our pet. 
H. P. B. kissed her, gently stroked her plumage, tried to 
restore her vitality by magnetic breathing, but noth- 
ing availed ; the bird's gasps grew feebler and feebler, 
until we saw it could only be a question of minutes. 
Then the stern, granite-faced H. P. B. melted into ten- 
derness, opened her dress, and laid little Jenny in her 
bosom ; as if to give her life by placing her near the 
heart that was beating in pity for her. But it was use- 
less ; there came a last gasp, a last flutter of the birdie's 
heart, and then ? Then, sharp and sweet and clear in 
the A'kasha near us, rang out a fairy bell, the requiem of 
the passing life ; and H. P. B. wept for her dead bird. 

Speaking of the possibilities of Mdya, shall we clas- 
sify in that category the following phenomenon ? One 
day, in moving about at the table, H. P. B. sent a huge 
splotch of ink over a light lawn wrapper that she was 
wearing. There must have been a teaspoonful of the 
fluid and it ran in a dozen streams down the front of the 
skirt to the floor. The dress was ruined. I shall drop 
a veil over the remarks that were eHcited from her, 
merely saying that they were strong rather than poetical. 
Yet she soon showed me that the evil was not remediless, 

432 Old Diary Leaves 

for, stepping towards her bedroom, but without crossing 
the threshold, she turned her back to me and went to 
passing her hands over the whole dress, or so much of it 
as she could reach ; and in another moment turning 
towards me, lo ! the light spotted wrapper had disap- 
peared and she stood there clothed in one of a chocolate 
colour. Was this a Maya ? If so, when will a Miya 
wear out ? For she wore the brown dress until it had 
had its turn of use, and I never saw the light one again. 
She told me once in great glee of a Maya that had 
been put off on herself. She was travelling in the desert, 
she said, with a certain Coptic white magician who shall 
be nameless, and, camping one evening, expressed the 
ardent wish for a cup of good French cafi au lait. 
"Well, certainly, if you wish it so much," said the 
guardian guide. He went to the baggage-camel, drew 
water from the skin, and after awhile returned, bringing 
in his hand a cup of smoking, fragrant coffee mixed with 
milk. H. P. B. thought this, of course, was a phenome- 
nal production, since her companion was a high adept 
and possessed of very great powers. So she thanked 
him gratefully, and drank, and was delighted, and de- 
clared she had never tasted better coffee at the Cafd de 
Paris. The magician said nothing, but merely bowed 
pleasantly and stood as if waiting to receive back the 
cup. H. P. B. sipped the smoking beverage, and chat- 
ted merrily, and — but what is this ? The coffee has 
disappeared and naught but plain water remains in her 
cup ! It never was anything else ; she had been drink- 

Illusions 43 


ing and smelling and sipping the Maya of hot, fragrant 
IMocha. Of course, it will be said that such an illusion 
as that may be seen at any tr.ivelling mesmeriser's show, 
where parafine oil is made to taste hke chocolate and 
vinegar like honey. But there is the difference that the 
illusion in the case of H. P. B. was produced in silence, 
by simple thought-transference, and upon a subject who 
herself had the power of casting glamours over third 
persons. From the crude mesmeric experimentation in 
a village hall, for paj-, to the highest example of maya\ic 
glamour thrown silently upon one person or a crowd bv 
an Eastern juggler, fakir, sanyasi, or adept, it is but a 
difference in degree. One principle runs throughout all 
these and all other phenomena, the observ'ation of which 
is the function of the bodity senses. Whether the Mayabe 
induced from without by the spoken word, the suggestive 
gesture, or the silent will of another, or it be self-engen- 
dered by the deceived imagination acting through the 
will upon the senses, it is all one, and he who thoroughly 
masters the rationale of the show of the village show- 
man and the naked Indian juggler, will be able to grasp 
the theor)' of Maya on a cosmic scale. When one is 
living in daily association with a person who possesses 
tliis power of casting glamour at will over one, the 
thought becomes most burdensome after awhile, for one 
never knows whether what is apparently spoken or seen 
is reallv so or not. Not even such a visit as the one 
made me by the Mahatma, with the concomitants of his 
touching me and speaking to me, and my feeling him as 

434 Old Diary Leaves 

a man of substantial body like myself, would really be 
proof that I was not under a glamour at the time. It 
will be remembered that this train of thought came up 
in my mind during the course of our conversation, and 
when we were about to part, and that the Mahatma 
smilingly gave me the test I wanted by leaving his tur- 
ban, a tangible cotton cloth with his cryptograph worked 
on it, on my table. 

How much we read in folk-lore tales about " fairy 
gold " and " fairy jewels " which by the next dawn are 
found turned into bits of twigs, leaves, straw, or other 
rubbish ! Such stories one finds current in almost every 
land and among every people. I have heard them in 
India. In such cases the principle of Mdya is illustrated ; 
but it would seem, from the instance I gave of the 
Mahatma refunding the half-dollar I had spent for the 
drawing materials with which his portrait was to be 
made for me, that the same person who could make the 
Maya of money at will, might also be able to either 
create real coin, or by the law of apport, bring it to one 
from some distant place where it lay at the moment. 

The production of the two Chinese or Japanese pic- 
tures of ladies was glamour, and so was the following 
case. The Hon. J. L. O'Sullivan, formerly U. S. Min- 
ister to Portugal, of whom mention has been made above, 
was calling one day, when the conversation turned upon 
the phenomenon of duplication. I had brought home 
that afternoon a bank-note for $i,ooo and had given it 
to H. P. B, to keep for me. She produced this note 


Illusions 435 

from her drawer, gave it to Mr. O'Sullivan to hold, 
rolled up, in his hand. Presently she told him to open 
his hand and see what he would find. He did so, and 
unrolling the bank-note found inside it another, its 
exact duplicate in paper, serial number, and face and 
back plate-printing. " Well," he exclaimed, " this is a 
famous way to become rich ! " " No, indeed," answered 
H. P. B., " 't is but a psychological trick. We, who have 
the power of doing this, dare not use it for our own or 
any other's interest, any more than you would dare to 
commit the forgery by the methods of the counterfeiter. 
It would be stealing from the Government in either case." 
She refused to satisfy our curiosity as to how she effected 
the duplication, telling us with a laugh to find out if we 
could. The two notes were laid away in the drawer, 
and when our visitor had departed, she showed me that 
but the original one remained ; the duplicate had dis- 
solved again. 

Shortly before we left New York, H. P. B. went out 
with me one evening to shop for herself. The purchases 
amounted to fifty dollars, and as she had no money at 
all at the time, I paid the bills and took charge of the 
receipts. As we were about entering the door of our 
house, she let go my arm, took my hand, and thrust 
some bank-notes in it saying ; " There are your fifty 
dollars ! " I repeat, that she had no money of her own, 
and no visitor coming to the house from whom she could 
have borrowed it : nor, when we left the house, did she 
know what she would buy nor how much she would 

436 Old Diary Leaves 

spend. She simply had money when she actually needed 
it and when it was right that she should have it. For 
example : I was once asked to go to a certain city and 
undertake some work for the Mahatmas, which had very 
important possibilities hanging upon its doing. I esti- 
mated that it would take me at least one or two months, 
and, as I was paying the " Lamasery " expenses and had 
other large demands upon my purse, I told H. P. B. 
frankly that I could not afford to spend the time away 
from New York. " Very well," she said, " do as you 
think right ; you are not yet a pledged neophyte and the 
Brothers have not the smallest right to take you away 
from your business." Still, I could not bear the idea of 
refusing the least thing that the Teachers should ask 
me, and although I could not see how I would have 
enough coming in for my wants while absent, I finally 
said that I would go, at any cost. H. P. B. asked me 
what I should probably lose by going, and I told her 
that at the very lowest calculation it would be not less 
than $500 a month. I went, and did not return until 
well into the second month. On going to the bank to see 
what money I had to my credit, I was astounded on being 
told that the sum was just a thousand dollars more than 
I could account for. Was not the book-keeper mis- 
taken ? No, it was so and so much. Then I asked him 
if he could recollect the appearance of the person who 
had, it seemed, made two deposits of $500 each to the 
credit on my account. He fortunately could, because 
the man was of so strange an appearance : he was very 

Illusions 437 

tall, with long black hair rolling on his shoulders, pierc- 
ing black eyes, and brown complexion : an Asiatic, in 
short. The same man had made both the deposits, 
merely handing in the money and asking that it might 
be placed to my credit. He did not have my pass-book, 
and he asked the Receiving Teller to fill up the deposit 
ticket himself as " he could not write English." Sup- 
posing H. P. B. to have had the friends she had years 
later in India and Europe, it would not have been at all 
remarkable if she had got one of them to lend her the 
money to make good my deficit, but at that time there 
was not a person of her acquaintance but myself, from 
whom she could have borrowed even one hundred 
dollars, much less one thousand. 

Then, again, at Bombay, she always had money given 
her when it was badly needed. When we landed there 
was barely enough to pay our current household ex- 
penses a few months ahead, let alone to squander on 
luxuries or superfluities ; yet she and I started off to the 
Punjab, with Moolji and Baboola, on that memorable 
journey which she expanded into her vivid romance, 
Caves and 'yungles of Hindustan and spent about two 
thousand rupees without being the worse for it. The 
cruse of oil and measure of meal were never exhausted, 
because we were given what we required by the Masters 
whose work we were doing. When I asked how it was 
possible for this to be when the Masters were living out- 
side the world of money-making and money-getting 
H. P. B. told me that they were the guardians over un- 

438 Old Diary Leaves 

told wealth of mines and buric-d treasure and jewels 
which, according to the Karma attaching to them, could 
he employed for the f^ood of mankind through many 
different agencies. Sonie of these treasures were, how- 
ever, so befouled with the aura, of crime that if suffereil 
to be dug up and ( ircuhiled l)efor(; Ihe delails of the law 
of Karma had worked tliemselves out, tliey wouhl breed 
fresh crimes and more direful human misery. Again, 
the Karma of some individuals re'inired that tlicy should, 
as if by the merest accident, discover Imricd pots of money 
or other valuables, or attract to themselves in the way of 
business, fortunes greater or less. These effects of com- 
pensation were worked out by the c'leinentajs of the min- 
eral kingdom with whom — according to ICastern belief - 
theapparent ])ets of fortune were closely albed through the 
elementals preponderating in their own temperaments. 

This question of the existence of 1 lemental spirits has 
always been the crux with the Spiritualists, yet Mrs. 
Britten, one of their chi(;fs, rlc-clares (see /tanner 0/ 
Light) that " sriK knows of the existence of other than 
human spirits, and has seen apparitions of spiritual or 
elementary existent.e, <;voked by cabalistic words and 
practices.'' The Hon. A. Aksakof, moreover, states that 
" Prince A. Oolgorouki, the gn-at authority on Mesmer- 
ism, has written me that he has ascertairied that spirits 
which play the most jirorninent part at s(^ances arc- ele- 
mentaries — gnomes, etc. His clairvoyants have seen 
them and describe them thus." Spi. Set., ] December, 
ifi75. (T. .S. Scrap-Book, I, 92.) 

Illusions 439 

To resume, then, the hand of such an individual, hav- 
ing in him a preponderance of the elementals belonging 
to the natural kingdom of minerals and metals, like that 
of Midas, King of Phrygia, would have that magic prop- 
erty that " everything he touches turns to gold " ; and 
no matter how stupid he might be as to general affairs, his 
" luck " would be constant and irresistible. So, too, with 
a preponderance of the watery elementals, he would be 
attracted to the life of a sailor and stick to it despite all 
hardships and sufferings. So, also, the preponderance 
of the elementals of the air in a man's temperament 
would set him, as a child, to climbing trees and house- 
roofs, as a man, to mountaineering, ballooning, walking 
the tight-rope at dizzy heights, and otherwise trying to 
get above the earth's surface. H. P. B. told me various 
stories to illustrate this principle, which need not be 
quoted here, since human life teems with examples that 
may be comprehended upon testing them with the key 
above given. As regards the Theosophical Society, I 
may say that, while neither H. P. B. nor I were ever al- 
lowed to have a superfluity, we were never left to suffer 
for the necessaries of our life and work. Over and over 
again, twenty, fifty times have I seen our cash-box nearly 
emptied and the prospects ahead very discouraging in 
the pecuniary sense, yet as invariably have I received in 
remittances from some quarter or another, what was 
needed, and our work has never been stopped for a 
single day for lack of means to carry on the Head- 

440 Old Diary Leaves 

Yet the agent of the unseen Masters is often disquali- 
fied for judging whether it is or is not necessary for the 
success of his public work that he should have money 
coming in to himself. When H. P. B. was ordered from 
Paris to New York in 1873, she soon found herself in 
the most dismal want, having, as stated in a previous 
chapter, to boil her coffee-dregs over and over again 
for lack of pence for buying a fresh supply ; and to keep 
off starvation, at last had to work with her needle for a 
maker of cravats. She got no presents from unexpected 
sources, found no fairy-gold on her mattress on waking 
in the morning. The time was not yet. But, although 
she was in such stark poverty herself, she had lying in 
her trunk for some time after her arrival a large sum of 
money (I think something like 23,000 francs) which had 
been confided to her by the Master, to await orders. The 
order finally came to her to go to Buffalo. Where that 
was or how to reach it, she had not the remotest idea 
until she enquired : What to do at Buffalo ? " No matter 
what : take the money with you." On reaching her des- 
tination she was told to take a hack and drive to such 
an address, and give the money to such and such a 
person ; to make no explanations, but to take his receipt 
and come away. She did so : the man was found at the 
address given, and found in peculiar conditions. He 
was writing a farewell letter to his family, with a loaded 
pistol on the table with which he would have shot him- 
self in another half hour if H. P. B. had not come. It 
seems — as she told me subsequently — that this was a 

Illusions 441 

most worthy man who had been robbed of the 23,000 
francs in some peculiar way that made it necessary, for 
the sake of events that would subsequently happen as a 
consequence — events of importance to the world — that he 
should have the money restored to him at a particular 
crisis, and H. P. B. was the agent deputed to this act of 
beneficence. When we met she had entirely forgotten 
the man's name, his street and number. Here we have 
a case where the very agent chosen to carry the money 
to the beneiiciary was herself in most necessitous cir- 
cumstances, yet not permitted to use one franc of the 
trust fund to buy herself a pound of fresh coffee. 

I recollect still another case where H. P. B. had the 
dispensing of " fairy-gold " — to use the popular term. 
Fortunately the beneficiary has left us the story in 
printer's ink. 

It seems that at a meeting of certain well-known 
Spiritualists of Boston (Mass.) something was said as to 
the probability of the Spiritual Scientist dying out for 
lack of patronage. The late C. H. Foster, a famous 
medium who was present, gave as from a controlling 
spirit, the positive declaration that the calamity in ques- 
tion was impending ; as, in fact, it was, since its Editor, 
Mr. Gerry Brown, had a rather large note to pay very 
soon and no means to meet it with. These introductory 
facts were published in the Spiritual Scientist, together 
with the following sequel, quoted from a clipping from 
that journal which I find in one of our scrap-books : 

" A few days ago the manager of the 6'«V«/«'.f/ received 

442 Old Diary Leaves 

a notice to call at the Western Union Telegraph Office 
and receipt for money sent by telegraph. He went with 
the following experience : 

" Scene — Western Union Telegraph Ofifice. Time, 
noon. To the left, receiver at desk. Enter on the 
right an individual who presents a money-Order notice. 

" Clerk. Are you expecting money ? 

" Individual. Well, that 's my name and address on 
the order, and that 's your notice to me. I have no one 
in mind however. 

" Clerk. Do you know of one Sir Henry de Morgan ? 

^''Individual. (Smiling broadly.) Well, I have heard 
it said that the spirit of the gentleman you mention, 
who lived on earth 250 years ago, takes a kind interest 
in my welfare. I '11 receipt for the money. 

" Clerk. (Drawing back and changing tone.) Do 
you know any one about here who can identify you 

"Individual. Yes. 

" Here a member of the company is called who knows 
Individual and the money is paid. 

" An hour later a telegram came saying : 

" ' I contribute dollars to pay note, due 

June 19th, and defy Charles Foster to make his prophecy 
good. The challenge to be published. Go to Western 
Union Telegraph Office, get money, and acknowledge 
receipt by telegraph. 

" ' Sir Henry de Morgan.' 

"The money was sent from a far distant city. As the 
telegram asks us to publish, we do so willingly. We 

Illusions 443 

advance no opinion in this case. We have already 
shown the telegram to several prominent spiritualists, 
one of whom suggests that a member of the circle is 
guying us. Well and good. We are willing to be guyed 
as often as any one wishes to guy us in this manner." 

Of course, the " distant city " was Philadelphia, and the 
sender, H. P. B., who — as above mentioned — was, with 
myself, interested in helping the Editor to pull his paper 
through a pecuniary crisis. Now, I am fully acquainted 
with the extent of H. P. B.'s own resources at that time, 
and I absolutely know that she was not in a position to 
send sums, either large or small, to impecunious third 
parties, and that her second husband was as poor as her- 
self and without credit to borrow upon. She must have 
got the money as she got that for her purchases in New 
York and for travelling expenses in India, viz., from the 
Lodge. The Sir Henry Morgan of the telegram was 
John King, the alleged spirit control, in whose name H. 
P. B.'s first phenomena were done in New York and 

By an interesting coincidence, while correcting these 
proofs, I found in our Library a book about Morgan, of 
which I had lost sight for some years. Its title is The 
History of the Bucaniers of America ; from their First 
Original down to this Time ; written in several languages; 
and now collected into one volume. Containing : The 
Exploits and Adventures of Le Grand, Lolonois, 
Roche Brasiliano, Bat the Portuguese, Sir Henry Mor- 
gan, etc. Written in Dutch by Jo. Esquemeling, one of 

444 Old Diary Leaves 

the Bucaniers, and thence translated into Spanish, etc., 
etc. [London, 1699. The Original Edition.] 

It is a queer, quaint, blood-curdling old book, that I 
picked up in New York, I think, and we had it early in 
our acquaintance. The thing that gives it an especial 
interest to us is that the intelligence which masqueraded 
for my edification as John King phenomenally precipi- 
tated on the three blank leaves preceding the Title-page, 
the following doggerel verses : 

" To my fast friend Harry Olcott. 

" Hark ye o gents — to Captain Morgan's pedigree 
Herein furnished by lying Esquemeling ; 
The latter but a truant, and in some degree 

The Spaniard's spy— Dutch Jew — who pennance sought and sailing 
Back to his foggy land, and took to book-selling. 
Ye lying cur ! Though Captain Morgan bucaniered 
He natheless knew well I trow — the wrong from right, 
From face of ennemie the Captain never steered. 
And never tacked about to show his heels in fight. 
Though he loved wenches, wine, and gold — he was a goodly knight. 
He passed away for noble virtue praised round, 
Encompast by his friends who shov'd him underground 
And settled Above — disguising for a change — 
His title, and name so famous once — that may seem strange — 
But aint, and called himself _/»//« King — the King of Sprites 

Protector to weak wench — defender of her rights 

Peace to the bones of both — the Pirat and the Knight — 
For both have rotten away the good and wicked spright 
And both of them have met — forwith when disembodied. 
The Dutch biographer met with a tristful case 
Sir Henry Morgan's spirit who had long uphoarded 
The wrongs made by the Jew chased his foe's Sprite apace 
And never Spirit world before or after witnessed 
A more sound thrashing or more mirthful race." 

Illusions 445 

" Moralitey 

" Know — O friend Harry, that a Sprite's aflfray 
In Summer Land is common any day, 
That all thy evil deeds on earth begotten 
Can never there be easily forgotten. 

" Yer benevolent friend, 

" John King." 

The quaint diction and spelling of these verses will 
command attention, and I submit that they are much 
more characteristic of such an intelligence as presumably 
was the buccaneer knight's than the mass of sloppy 
communications vye have got through mediums. 

Besides the open book-shelves between the windows 
in our work-room at the Lamasery, there was a smaller 
one with glass doors, which stood in the N. E. window. 
On the day when I purchased the lioness head, above 
mentioned, I also bought a fine specimen of the large 
American grey owl, which was very well mounted. I 
first put it on a small stand in one of the corners, but 
later transferred it to the top of this smaller book-case, 
putting a box inside the cornice to raise the bird up to 
the proper height for display. I mention the circum- 
stance because of an instructive phenomenon that hap- 
pened between the time of my putting the box inside the 
cornice, and taking the stuffed bird from the writing 
table behind me to lift it to its place. In that instant of 
time there came upon the flat part of the cornice and 
the frames of the two glass doors, some large Tibetan 
writings in letters of gold ; and of so permanent a char- 
acter that they remained there until we left New York' 

446 Old Diary Leaves 

Observe the procedure : I face the book-case to put the 
empty box on top, and this brings my face in actual con- 
tact with the exposed front of the book-case, and I see 
nothing whatever written or painted on the plain wood 
surfaces. I turn about in my tracks, pick up the bird, 
turn back to lift it to its place, and — there are the gold- 
lettered Tibetan messages before my eyes. Was this a 
positive or a negative Mayi, the precipitation at that 
instant of a writing by thought-force, from the distance 
across the room where H. P. B. sat ? or was it an inhibi- 
tion on the sight of myself and the several others in the 
room, until the right moment came for removing the 
temporary and special blindness, and allowing us to see 
what H. P. B. had probably written in gold-ink during 
the daytime, and then had hidden under her " veil of 
Maya " ? I think the latter. 

Mr. Judge tells Mr. Sinnett (vide Incidents in the Life 
of Madame Blavatsky, p. 191) of a phenomenon of pre- 
cipitation, of which I also was witness. The facts are 
as follows : One evening H. P. B., Mr. Judge, and I 
were together and a letter had to be written to Mr. 
M. D. Evans, of Philadelphia, an insurance-broker. 
Neither of us could at the moment recollect his address ; 
there was no place near by where a Philadelphia Direc- 
tory could be consulted ; and we were at our wit's end. 
H. P. B. and I both recollected that in Philadelphia she 
had had on her table a slip of blotting paper with Mr. 
Evans' address printed on it, in a wave-line along with 
that of an insurance company, but neither of us could 

Illusions 447 

recall it. Finally, she did this : she took from the table 
before us a japanned tin paper-cutter, stroked it gently, 
laid a piece of blotting paper over it, passed her hand 
over the surface, lifted the paper, and there, on the 
black japanned surface of the paper-cutter was printed in 
bronze ink the facsimile of the inscription on the Phila- 
delphia blotting slip that Evans had given her in that 
city. Her physical brain could not recollect the inscrip- 
tion, but when she focussed her will-power upon the 
(physically speaking) vague memory of her astral brain, 
the hidden image was dragged to light again and pre- 
cipitated upon the determined surface. This was a case 
of a " subliminal " being converted into a supraliminal 
consciousness ; and a most interesting one, it will be 

I leave the reader to decide whether the following 
phenomenon was a Maya, an apport, a trick, or a crea- 
tion. She and I were as usual one evening smoking 
while at work ; she her cigarette, I my pipe. It was a 
new one, I remember, and the tobacco was as good as 
one could wish, but she suddenly sniffed and ex- 
claimed, " Pah ! what horrid tobacco you are smoking, 
Olcott ! " I said she was very much mistaken, as both 
pipe and tobacco were unexceptionable. " Well," she 
said, " I don't like it this evening ; take a cigarette." 
" No," I replied, " I '11 not smoke since it annoys you." 
" Why don't you use those nice Turkish pipes that come 
from Constantinople ? " said she. " Because I have 
none — a very good reason," "Well, then, here's one 

448 Old Diary Leaves 

for you," she exclaimed, dropping her hand down beside 
her arm-chair, and bringing it up again with a pipe in 
it, which she handed me. It had a red clay, flaring bowl, 
set in filagree gilt, and a stem covered with purple velvet 
and ornamented with a slight gilt chain with imitation 
coins attached. I took it with a simple " Thank you," 
filled and lit it, and went on with my work. " How do 
you like it ? " she asked. " Well enough," I said, " al- 
though instead of purple I wish the velvet had been 
blue." " Oh well, have a blue one then," she remarked ; 
again putting down her hand and lifting it again with a 
blue-stemmed pipe in it. I thanked her and continued 
my work. The manoeuvre was again repeated, and she 
said, " Here 's a baby pipe," and she gave me a minia- 
ture edition of the larger sort. Being apparently in the 
mood for surprises, she then successively produced a 
Turkish cigarette mouth-piece in gilt and amber, a Turk- 
ish coffee-pot and sugar-bowl, and finally a gilt tray in 
repouss^ with imitation enamel ornamentation. " Any 
more ?" I asked. " Has any Turkish shop been afire ? " 
She laughed, and said that would do for that evening ; 
but some time she might take the fancy of giving me by 
magic an Arab horse fully caparisoned, to ride down 
Broadway in a procession of the Theosophical Society 
and astonish the natives ! Many, very many persons, 
saw the pipes and coffee equipage in our rooms there- 
after, and when we left New York all were given away 
to friends, save the gilt tray and sugar-basin which I 
brought out to India and have still. 



A FEW words more to complete the character 
sketch of H. P. B. She was, even in her youth 
— to judge from her early portraits — a plump person, and 
later in life became very corpulent. It seems to have 
been a family peculiarity. In her case the tendency was 
aggravated by the manner of life she led, taking next to 
no physical exercise whatever, and eating much unless 
seriously out of health. Even then she partook largely 
of fatty meats and used to pour melted butter by the 
quantity over her fried eggs at breakfast. Wines and 
spirits she never touched, her beverages being tea and 
coffee, preferably the latter. Her appetite, while I knew 
her, was extremely capricious, and she was most rebel- 
lious to all fixed hours for meals, hence a terror to all 
cooks and the despair of her colleague. 

I remember an instance at Philadelphia which shows 

this peculiarity in an especial degree. She had one 
29 449 

450 Old Diary Leaves 

maid-of-all-work, and on this particular day a leg of 
mutton was boiling for dinner. Suddenly H. P. B. be- 
thought her to write a note to a lady friend who lived 
at the other end of the city, an hour's journey each way, 
as there were no trams or other public conveyances 
going direct from the one house to the other. She 
called in trumpet tones for the maid, and ordered her to 
set off instantly with the note and bring the answer. 
The poor girl told her that the dinner would be spoilt, 
and she could not possibly get back until an hour be- 
yond the usual time. H. P. B. would not listen and told 
her to begone at once. Three-quarters of an hour 
later H. P. B. began complaining that the stupid idiot 
of a girl had not returned ; she was hungry and wanted 
her dinner, and sent all Philadelphia servants to the 
devil en masse. In another quarter of an hour she had 
grown desperate, and so we went down to the kitchen 
for a look. Of course, the pots of meat and vegetables 
were set back on the range, the fire was banked, and the 
prospect of dinner was extremely small. H. P. B.'s 
wrath was vehement, and so there was nothing for us 
but to turn to and cook for ourselves. When the maid 
returned she was scolded so roundly that she burst into 
tears and gave warning ! At New York, if any nice 
visitor chanced to be there, either the dinner would have 
to wait indefinitely, or he or she or they — for it made no 
difference — would be asked to come in and dine, and 
the portions provided for us two had to be divided and 
gub-divided for perhaps four people. At Bombay it 

Character Sketch of Mme. Blavatsky 45 1 

was worse : one day the dinner would be put off two 
hours and another H. P. B. would demand to be served 
an hour before the time ; and then frighten the wretched 
Goanese servants into fits, because the vegetables were 
half-boiled and the meat half-cooked. So when we 
removed to Adyar I determined to put a stop to this 
bother, and built a kitchen on the terrace near H. P. B.'s 
bed-room, gave her a set of servants to herself, and let 
her eat or go without as she pleased. 

I found on visiting her in London after her removal 
there, that the same old system was in vogue, H. P. B.'s 
appetite having become more capricious than ever be- 
cause of the progress of disease, although every possible 
delicacy was provided by her friends to tempt her. 
Poor thing ! it was not her fault, although her ill health 
had been largely caused by her almost life-long neglect 
of the rules of digestion. She was never an ascetic, not 
even a vegetarian while I knew her, flesh diet seeming 
to be indispensable for her health and comfort ; as 
it is to so many others in our Society, including myself, 
I know many who have tried their best to get on with 
vegetable diet, and some, myself for example, who have 
followed up the experiment for several years together, 
yet have been forced finally to revert to their old diet 
against their will. Some, on the contrary, like Mrs. 
Besant and other prominent Theosophists I could name, 
have found themselves much healthier, stronger, and 
better on non-flesh food, and gradually acquire a posi- 
tive loathing for meat in any of its forms. All which 

452 Old Diary Leaves 

verifies the old proverb, " AVhat is one man's meat is 
another man's poison." I think that neither blame is 
warranted in one case nor praise in the other, because 
of the regimen one chooses by preference. It is not 
what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what 
lies in his heart. A wise old saying, worth remember- 
ing by the self-righteous. 

H. P. B. was, all the world knows, an inveterate 
smoker. She consumed an immense number of cigar- 
ettes daily, for the rolling of which she possessed the 
greatest deftness. She could even roll them with her 
left hand while she was writing " copy " with her right. 
Her devoted London physician, Dr. Mennell, has the 
most unique present she could have given any person : 
a box, with his monogram neatly carved on the lid, 
which contains several hundred cigarettes that she 
rolled for him with her own hands. She sent it to him 
just before her death, and the Doctor has it laid by as a 
souvenir of, doubtless, his most interesting and illustrious 

While she was writing Isis Unveiled, at New York, she 
would not leave her apartment for six months at a 
stretch. From early morning until very late at night 
she would sit at her table working. It was not an un- 
common thing for her to be seventeen hours out of the 
twenty-four at her writing. Her only exercise was to 
go to the dining-room or bath-room and back again to 
her table. As she was then a large eater, the fat accu- 
mulated in great masses on her body : her chin doubled 

Character Sketch of Mme. Blavatsky 453 

and trebled ; a watery fat formed in her limbs and hung 
in masses over her ankles ; her arms developed great 
bags of adipose, which she often showed visitors and 
laughed at as a great joke — a bitter one as it proved in 
after years. When Isis was finished and we began to see 
ahead the certainty of our departure, she went one day 
with my sister and got herself weighed : she turned the 
scales at 245 pounds (17 stone 7), and then announced 
that she meant to reduce herself to the proper weight 
for travelling, which she fixed at 156 pounds (11 stone 2). 
Her method was simple : every day, ten minutes after 
each meal, she had a wineglass of plain water brought 
her ; she would hold one palm over it, look at it mesmer- 
ically, and then drink it off. I forget just how many 
weeks she continued this treatment, but finally she 
asked my sister to go again with her to be weighed. 
They brought and showed me the certificate of the shop- 
keeper who owned the scales, to the effect that " The 
weight of Madame Blavatsky this day is 156 pounds ! " 
So she continued until long after we reached India, 
when the obesity reappeared and persisted, aggravated 
with dropsy, until her death. 

There was one aspect of her character which amazed 
strangers, and made her very attractive to those who 
loved her. I mean a sort of childish delight that she 
exhibited when certain things pleased her very much. 
She was sent once into transports of joy on receipt of a 
box of caviare, sweet cakes, and other delicacies from 
Russia, while we were at New York. She was for hav- 

454 Old Diary Leaves 

ing us all taste them, and when I protested that the 
fish-roes had the flavour of salted shoe-leather, she was 
almost ready to annihilate me. A crumb of black bread 
that chanced to be in a home newspaper she had had 
sent her, suggested the entire home life at Odessa. She 
described to me her beloved aunt Nadjeda, sitting late 
at night in her room, reading the papers while nibbling 
one of these very crusts ; and then the different rooms 
in the house, the occupants, their habits and doings. 
She actually wrapped the crumb in a bit of the news- 
paper and laid it under her pillow to dream upon. 

In my Diary of 1878, I find an entry for Sunday, July 
14, 1878, about a seaside trip we took with Wimbridge. 
It says : 

" A superb day, bright sun, cool, pleasant air, every- 
thing charming. We three took a carriage, drove to the 
beach and all bathed. H. P. B. presented a most amus- 
ing appearance ; paddling about in the surf, with her 
bare legs, and showing an almost infantile glee to be in 
such a ' splendid magnetism.' " 

At Madras she received the present of several toys in 
scroll-saw fret-work, from her aunt. Some of comical 
design she brought out to show all visitors until the 
novelty had worn off. One, a wall-pocket in ebony and 
calamander wood, hangs in her old bed-room at Adyar, 
where I am now writing. 

On her table in New York stood an iron savings-box, 
modelled like a Gothic tomb or temple — one cannot say 
which — which was to her the soune of constant delight. 

Character Sketch of Mme. Blavatsky 455 

It had a slit in the dome inside, and an innocent-looking 
round table-top on a pillar. This was connected with a 
crank on the outside, and if a coin were placed on it 
and the crank turned, the coin would presently be 
swept off through a slot and fall inside, frona whence it 
could only be removed by unscrewing a certain small 
plate at the bottom. We made this our collection-box for 
the Arya Samaj, and H. P. B. — but I shall let the re- 
porter of the N'. Y. Star speak for himself on this point. 
In that paper for December 8, 1878, it is written : 

" Madame Blavatsky, or, as she prefers to be called, 
H. P. B. (she having sent the title of ' Madame ' to look 
for that of ' Countess,' which she threw away before) 
was enraptured with the idea. ' I will fill my little tem- 
ple with dollars,' she cried, ' and I shall not be ashamed 
to take it to India.' The temple she referred to is a 
small, but intricate structure, with an entrance, but no 
exit, for money contributed to the Arya Samaj. It is 
solidly constructed of cast-iron, and is surmounted by a 
small ' Dev.' H. P. B. kindly explained to the reporter 
that ' Dev ' was a Sanskrit word, differently interpreted 
as god, or devil, or genie by different nations of the 
East. The casual visitor to the Lamasery is frequently 
invited to place a small coin on the top of the temple, 
and to turn a crank. The result is invariably the great 
glee of the Theosophs, the discomfiture of the casual 
visitor, and the enrichment of the Arya Samaj, for the 
coin disappears in the process." 

The same writer, I find, says something nice about the 

456 Old Diary Leaves 

mural picture in dried leaves, of a tropical jungle, that 
was made in our dining-room, and described in a recent 
chapter. We thought of making a lottery among our 
friends of the furniture of the Lamasery, and this was to 
be one of the prizes. The Star reporter says : 

" Perhaps one of the most remarkable things in all the 
collection of unique prizes is one which has no claim to 
be considered magical. It is a mural ornament, so 
elaborately beautiful and yet so simple, that it seems 
strange that it is not fashionable. On one of the walls 
of the dining-room of the now famous flat is the repre- 
sentation of a tropical scene, in which appear an ele- 
phant, a tiger, a huge serpent, a fallen tree, monkeys, 
birds and butterflies, and two or three sheets of water. 
It is neither painted nor drawn, but the design was first 
cut out in paper and then autumn leaves of various hues 
were pasted on, while the water was represented by small 
pieces of broken mirror. The effect is remarkably 
beautiful, but the winner of the prize will probably need 
magical art to remove it in good condition, for it has 
been in its place so long that the leaves are dry and 

The jocund side of H. P. B.'s character was one of 
her greatest charms. She liked to say witty things her- 
self and to hear others say them. As above remarked, 
her salon was never dull save, of course, to those who 
had no knowledge of Eastern literature and understood 
nothing of Eastern philosophy, and to them time might 
have dragged heavily when H. P. B. and Wilder, or Ur. 

Character Sketch of Mme. Blavatsky 457 

Weisse, or some other savant were discussing these 
deeper depths and loftier heights of thought by hours 
together. Yet even then she spoke so unconventionally, 
and formulated her views with so much verve and start- 
ling parodox, that even if the listener could not follow 
the thread of her thought, he must admire it ; as one 
may the Crystal Palace pyrotechnics, although he does 
not know the chemical processes employed to manufac- 
ture the pieces. She caught up and made her own any 
quaint phrase or word as, for instance, " flapdoodle," 
" whistle-breeches," and several others which have come 
to be regarded as her own invention. In our play-times, 
/. e., after finishing our nightwork, or when visitors came 
or, rarely, when she wanted to have a little rest, she 
would tell me tales of magic, mystery, and adventure, 
and in return, get me to whistle, or sing comic songs, or 
tell droll stories. One of the latter became, by two 
years' increment added on to the original, a sort of 
mock Odyssey of the Moloney family, whose innumera- 
ble descents into matter, returns to the state of cosmic 
force, intermarriages, changes of creed, skin, and capa- 
bilities, made up an extravaganza of which H. P. B. 
seemed never to have enough. She would set me going 
in presence of third parties, much to my disgust some- 
times, and enjoy their surprise at this rough and ready 
improvisation. It was all recited in an Irish brogue, and 
was a mere fanfarronade of every kind of nonsense ; 
dealing extravagantly with the problems of macrocos- 
mic and microcosmic evolution : the gist of the whole 

458 Old Diary Leaves 

thing being that the Moloneys were related by marriage 
to the Molecules, and that the two together generated 
the supreme potency of Irish force, which controlled 
the vicissitudes of all worlds, suns, and galaxies. It was, 
as compared with the trifling story from which it devel- 
oped, like the giant Banyan tree as compared with its 
tiny seed-germ. She got at last to call me Moloney, 
both in speaking and writing, and I retaliated by calling 
her Mulligan. Both nicknames were caught up by our 
friends, and my old boxes of archives contain many 
letters to her and myself, under those Hibernian 

She was a splendid pianist, playing with a touch and 
expression that were simply superb. Her hands were 
models — ideal and actual — for a sculptor and never seen 
to such advantage as when flying over the keyboard to 
find its magical melodies. She was a pupil of Mosche- 
les, and when in London as a young girl, with her father, 
played at a charity concert with Madame Clara Schu- 
mann and Madame Arabella Goddard in a piece of 
Schumann's for three pianos.* During the time of our 
relationship she played scarcely at all. Once a cottage 
piano was bought and she played on it for a few weeks, 
but then it remained closed ever after until sold, and 
served as a double book-shelf. There were times when 

* Some weeks after the above was published I learned from a mem- 
ber of her family that shortly before coming to America, II. P. 1!. 
had made some concert tours in Italy and Russia under the pseudonym 
of " Madame Laura." 

Character Sketch of Mme. Blavatsky 459 

she was occupied by one of the Mahatmas, when her 
playing was indescribably grand. She would sit in the 
dusk sometimes, with nobody else in the room beside 
myself, and strike from the sweet-toned instrument im- 
provisations that might well make one fancy he was list- 
ing to the Gandhavas, or heavenly choristers. It was 
the harmony of heaven. 

She had a bad eye for colours and proportions in her 
normal state, and very little of that fine aesthetic taste 
which makes a woman dress herself becomingly. I have 
gone to the theatre with her when I expected the house 
to rise at us. She, a stout and remarkable looking wo- 
man, wearing a perky hat with plumes, a grand toilette 
satin dress with much trimming, a long, heavy gold chain 
about her neck, attached to a blue-enamelled watch, with 
a monogram on the back in cheap diamonds, and on her 
lovely hands a dozen or fifteen rings, large and small. 
People might laugh at her aside, but if they caught her 
stern eye and looked into her massive Calmuck face, 
their laugh soon died away and a sense of awe and won- 
der possessed them. 

She was at times generous to the extreme, lavishly so ; 
at others the very opposite. When she had money she 
seemed to regard it as something to be got rid of soon. 
She told me that she spent within two years a legacy of 
85,000 roubles (about 170,000 rupees) left her by her 
grandmother, in desultory wandering over the world. 
A good part of the time she had with her a huge New- 
foundland dog, which she led by a heavy golden chain ! 

460 Old Diary Leaves 

She was a most downright, plain-spoken person, when 
not exchanging politenesses with a new acquaintance, at 
which times she was grande-dame to her finger-tips. No 
matter how untidy she might be in appearance, she bore 
the ineffaceable stamp of high birth ; and if she chose, 
could be as dignified as a French duchesse. But in her 
ordinary, everyday life, she was as sharp as a knife in her 
sarcasm and like an exploding bomb in her moments of 
anger. The one unpardonable sin, for her, was hypoc- 
risy and society airs. Then, she was merciless, and the 
sources of various languages were exhausted to cover 
the victim with contumely. She frequently saw as in a 
mirror, clairvoyantly, the secret sins of men and women 
whom she encountered ; and if they happened to be 
particularly prone to speak of Theosophy with disdain 
or of herself with contempt, she would pour the vials of 
wrathful candour upon their heads. The " ower guid " 
folk were her abhorrence, but for a poor, ignorant but 
frank person, whether reputable or the opposite, she had 
always a kind word and often a gift. Unconventionality 
was with her almost a cult, and nothing pleased her more 
than to do and say things to shock the prudish. For 
example, I find an entry in my diary to the effect that, 
on a certain evening, she put on her night-dress, went to 
bed, and received a mixed company of ladies and gen- 
tlemen. This was after the fashion of royal and noble 
dames of pre-revolutionary days in Europe. Her palpa- 
ble sexlessness of feeling carried all this off without 
challenge. No woman visitor would ever see in her a 

Character Sketch of Mme. Blavatsky 461 

possible rival, no man imagine that she could be cajoled 
by him into committing indiscretions. She swore like 
the army in Flanders but meant no harm, and if her un- 
common predilection in this respect had not been so 
much noticed and denounced by the sticklers for pro- 
priety — themselves, as she clairvoyantly saw, sometimes 
smug sinners behind closed doors — she would doubtless 
have given it up. It is in human-nature, and was in her 
nature, superlatively, to keep doing forbidden things just 
out of a spirit of revolt. I knew a lady once whose 
child caught from the farm servants the habit of saying 
wicked words. The mother, a most exemplary lady in 
every respect, was heartbroken about it. Whipping and 
other punishments only made matters worse, and no bet- 
ter result was obtained from the last expedient of wash- 
ing out the child's mouth with bar soap after he had been 
heard swearing. At last some sensible friend advised 
the parents to try what would come of paying no atten- 
tion whatever to the bad language. The plan was a 
complete success, and within a few months the culprit 
swore no more. H. P. B. felt herself in revolt to every 
conventional idea of society, being in beliefs, tastes, 
dress, ideals, and behaviour a social helot ; so she re- 
venged herself by showing her own commanding tal- 
ents and accomplishments, and causing society to fear 
her. Secretly smarting for her lack of physical beauty, 
she continually harped upon her " potatoe nose," as 
though she defied criticism. The world was to her an 
empty sham, its prizes but dross, her waking life a lugu- 

462 Old Diary Leaves 

brious existence, her real life that of the night when, 
leaving the body, she would go and sit at the feet of her 
Masters. So she felt little else than scorn and profound 
contempt for the blind bigots and narrow-thinking men 
of science, who had not even a stray glimpse of the 
truth, yet who would judge her with unrighteous judg- 
ment, and conspire to silence her by a conspiracy of 
calumny. For clergymen as a body she felt hatred, be- 
cause, being themselves absolutely ignorant of the truths 
of the spirit, they assumed the right to lead the spiritu- 
ally blind, to keep the lay conscience under control, to 
enjoy revenues they had not earned, and to damn the 
heretic, who was often the sage, the illuminatus, the 
adept. We had one scrap-book into which we used to 
paste paragraphs from the newspapers telling of the 
crimes of clergymen and priests who had been brought 
to justice, and before we left for India there was a large 
collection of them. 

H. P. B. made numberless friends, but often lost them 
again and saw them turned into personal enemies. No 
one could be more fascinating than she when she chose, 
and she chose it when she wanted to draw persons to 
her public work. She would be caressing in tone and 
manner, and make the person feel that she regarded him 
as her best, if not her only friend. She would even 
write in the same tone, and I think I could name a num- 
ber of women who hold her letters saying that they are 
to be her successors in the T. S., and twice as many men 
whom she declared her " only real friends and accepted 

Character Sketch of Mme. Blavatsky 463 

chdlas." I have a number of such certificates, and used 
to think them treasures until, after comparing notes with 
third parties, I found that they had been similarly en- 
couraged, and I saw that all her eulogies were valueless. 
With ordinary persons like myself and her other intimate 
associates, I should not say she was either loyal or 
staunch. We were to her, I believe, nothing more than 
pawns in a game of chess, for whom she had no heart- 
deep love. She repeated to me the secrets of people of 
both sexes — even the most compromising ones — that had 
been confided to her, and she treated mine, such as they 
are, I am convinced, in the same fashion. But she was 
loyal to the last degree to her aunt, her other relatives, 
and to the Masters ; for whose work she would have 
sacrificed not only one, but twenty lives, and calmly seen 
the whole human race consumed with fire, if needs be. 



IT was but natural that the Queen of our little Bohe- 
mia should have been asked for sittings by the Bo- 
hemian artists who clustered around her ; and so it 
happens that she sat to Thos. Le Clear for her portrait 
in oils, and to O'Donovan for a bronze portrait-medal- 
lion. The Diary entry for 24th February {1878) shows 
that we two spent the evening at Walter Paris's studio, 
and had a jolly time of it with some of the best artists 
of New York. Most of them belonged to the famous 
Tile Club, whose members meet monthly at each other's 
studios, and paint designs on tiles supplied by the host 
of the evening, whose property they become, and who 
has them baked and glazed at his own expense. A 
charming arrangement, by which each member of the 
Club becomes in his turn, at trifling cost, the owner of 
a set of signed paintings by good artists. 

H. P. B. was inexpressibly amused by an incident 

connected with my farcical improvisations, alluded to 


Last Days in New York 465 

above. One of the things she frequently called for was 
a burlesque of " speakmg mediumship," in which the 
mannerisms and platitudes of a certain class of platform 
speakers were travestied. On the evening in question 
we had as a visitor a London litterateur, a former editor 
of the Spectator and a University man. He had gone in 
for a good deal of investigation of Spiritualism and was 
a believer. I pretended to be controlled by the spirit 
of a deceased High Church clergyman and, with closed 
eyes and solemn tone, launched out into a tirade against 
the demoralising influences of the day, among which I 
accorded first place to the Theosophical Society. The 
promoters of this nefarious body, I made the pseudo- 
spirit denounce in an especial degree, while upon 
H. P. B., its high priestess and head devil, I launched 
the thunderbolts of the major and minor excommunica- 
tion. The old lady laughed until she cried, but our 
guest sat staring at me (as I noticed from time to time 
when I took a hasty glance at him between my almost 
closed lids), and at last broke out with the exclamation : 
" It 's terrible, it 's awfully real ; you really should not 
let him do it, Madame ! " " Do what ? " she asked. 
" Give way to this mediumship when his whole self is 
obsessed by so strong and so vindictive a personality of 
the spirit-world ! " This was too much for my mirth- 
loving colleague, and she exploded with laughter. 
Finally, catching her breath, she cried out : " Stop ! 
For goodness' sake, stop, Olcott, or you will kill me ! " 
Just then I was at the middle of a fine burst of scorn 

466 Old Diary Leaves 

over the pretended erudition and altruism of this " Rus- 
sian schemer," but I stopped short and, turning to Mr. 
L., asked him in the quietest, most commonplace tone, 
for a match for my pipe. I almost lost my gravity on 
seeing his sudden start of amazement, and the sharp 
look of enquiry he shot into my face, telling as though 
he had spoken the words, his belief that I vi'as either 
mad, or the most extraordinary of mediums since I 
could so instantaneously " pass out of control." The 
sequel almost finished off H. P. B. The next morning, 
at eight o'clock, Mr. L. called, to walk down town with 
me and try his persuasive powers to make me throw up 
this mediumship which, he assured me, would destroy 
my hope of useful public work in the future ! The 
medium, he explained — as though I had not then known 
it for at least twenty years — was a veritable slave in the 
degree of his real mediumship ; the passive agent of 
disincarnate forces whose nature he had no means of 
testing, and as to whose domination he had no selec- 
tive power. Say what I might, he would not be per- 
suaded that the whole affair of last evening was nothing 
but a joke, one of the various divertisements employed 
by H. P. B. and myself to relieve the strain of our seri- 
ous work ; he would have it that I was a medium, and 
so we had to let it rest. But to us it was a standing 
joke, and H. P. B. told it numberless times to visitors. 

On the 5th April, T. A. Edison sent me his signed 
application for membership. I had had to see him 
about exhibiting his electrical inventions at the Paris 

Last Days in New York 467 

Exposition of that year ; I being the honorary secretary 
to a Citizens' National Committee, which was formed at 
the request of the French Government, to induce the 
United States Congress to pass a bill providing for our 
country taking part in the first international exposition 
of the world's industries since the fall of the Empire 
and the foundation of the French Republic. Edison 
and I got to talking about occult forces, and he inter- 
ested me greatly by the remark that he had done some 
experimenting in that direction. His aim was to try 
whether a pendulum, suspended on the wall of his pri- 
vate laboratory, could be made to move by will-force. 
To test this he had used as conductors, wire of various 
metals, simple and compound, and tubes containing dif- 
ferent fluids, one end of the conductor being applied to 
his forehead, the other connected with the pendulum. 
As no results have since been published, I presume that 
the experiments did not succeed. It may interest him, 
if he should chance to see this record, to know that in 
1852 I met in Ohio a young man named Macallister, an 
ex-Shaker, who told me that he had discovered a certain 
fluid, by bathing his forehead with which he could trans- 
mit thought to another person employing the same fluid 
at an agreed time, however distant the two might be 
apart. I remember writing an article on the subject un- 
der the title of " Mental Telegraphing " to the old Spirit- 
ual Telegraph newspaper, of the late Mr. S. B. Britten. 
Having been acquainted with several noted American 
inventors, and learnt from them the psychological pro- 

468 Old Diary Leaves 

cesses by which they severally got the first ideas of their 
inventions, I described these to Edison and asked him 
how his discoveries came to him. He said that often, 
perhaps while walking on Broadway with an acquaint- 
ance, and talking about quite other matters, amid the 
din and roar of the street, the thought would suddenly 
flash into his mind that such a desired thing might be 
accomplished in a certain way. He would hasten home, 
set to work on the idea, and not give it up until he had 
either succeeded or found the thing impracticable. 

On the 17th April we began to talk with Sotheran, 
General T., and one or two other high Masons about 
constituting our Society into a Masonic body with a 
Ritual and Degrees ; the idea being that it would form 
a natural complement to the higher degrees of the craft, 
restoring to it the vital element of Oriental mysticism 
which it lacked or had lost. At the same time, such an 
arrangement would give strength and permanency to the 
Society, by allying it to the ancient Brotherhood whose 
lodges are established throughout the whole world. 
Now that I come to look back at it, we were in reality 
but planning to repeat the work of Cagliostro, whose 
Egyptian Lodge was in his days so powerful a centre for 
the propagation of Eastern occult thought. We did not 
abandon the idea until long after removing to Bombay, 
and the last mention of it in my Diary is an entry to the 
effect that Swami Dyanand Sarasvati had promised me 
to compile a Ritual for the use of our New York and 
London members. Some old colleagues have denied 

Last Days in New York 469 

the above facts, but, although they knew it not, the plan 
was seriously entertained by H. P. B. and myself, and 
we relinquished it only when we found the Society grow- 
ing rapidly by its own inherent impetus and making it 
impolitic for us to merge it into the Masonic body. 

One evening H. P. B. made a pretty phenomenon of 
duplication. A French physician, Dr. B., was one of a 
party of nine visitors at our rooms, and sat near H. P. B.'s 
writing-table, so that the standing gas-light shone upon 
a large gold sleeve-button, bearing his initials, that he 
wore. H. P. B.'s eye being caught by its glitter, she 
reached across the table, touched the button, and then 
opening her hand, showed him and the rest of us a 
duplicate of the same. We all saw it, but she would 
not give it to either of us, and presently re-opening her 
hand, the Mdyd had disappeared. One much more in- 
teresting thing she did for me, one evening when we two 
were alone. From time to time she had told me tales 
of adventure and doings about a number of persons ; 
some in India, others in Western countries. This even- 
ing she was shuffling a pack of cards in her hands in an 
aimless sort of way, when suddenly she held the pack 
open towards me and showed me the visiting card of a 
certain British officer's wife, who had chanced to see a 
Mahatma in Northern India and fallen offensively in 
love with his splendid face. The card bore her name, 
and, in a lower corner, that of her husband's regiment, 
partly scratched out as with a knife, so that I might not 
be able to identify the lady if I should ever meet her in 

470 Old Diary Leaves 

India. The shuffling went on, and every minute or two 
she would open the pack and show me the visiting cards 
of other persons known to us by name ; some were 
glazed, some plain ; some with names engraved in script, 
others in square lettering ; some type-printed, some 
black-bordered, some large, and others small. It was 
a marvellous and quite unique phenomenon. Yet how 
queer it was that precious psychic force — so hard to 
generate, so easy to lose— should have been wasted to 
objectify, for a brief moment in each case, these astral 
phantoms of common visiting cards, when the same vol- 
ume of force might have been employed to compel some 
great scientist to believe in the existence of the rec- 
ords of the A'kas'a and devote his energies to spiritual 
research. My respected sister, Mrs. Mitchell, who, with 
her husband and children, occupied a flat in the same 
apartment-house with us, was one day shown by H. P. B. 
a collection of gems and jewelry which, she says, must 
have represented a value of at least _;^io,ooo, and which 
she thought were part of her family inheritance. So 
little did she suspect that they were merely illusionary, 
that she was even incredulous when I told her that H. 
P. B. owned no such property. If she had, I am sure 
she would never have allowed herself to be put to such 
straits as she was. 

The nearer we approached the time for our change 
of base, the more vehement became H. P. B.'s praise of 
India, the Hindus, the entire Orient and Orientals as a 
whole, and her disparagement of Western people as a 

Last Days in New York 471 

whole, their customs, religious tyranny, and ideals. 
There were stormy evenings at the Lamasery, among 
which stands out one episode very distinctly. Walter 
Paris, the artist, and one of the best of fellows, had lived at 
Bomb.ty some years as Government Architect, and was 
glad to talk with us about India. But not having our ' 
excessive reverence tor the countr)' and sympathy for 
the people, he would often offend H. P. B.'s sensitive- 
ness by remarks on what I now know to be A.iglo-Indian 
lines. One evening he was talking about an old servant 
of his who had committed some stupidity in harnessing 
or saddling a horse, and quietly remarked that he had 
slashed the man with his whip. Instantly, as if she had 
received the blow across her own face, H. P. B. sprang 
up, stood before him, and in a speech of about rive min- 
utes gave him such a scathing rebuke as to make him 
sit speechless. She stigmatised the act as one of cow- 
ardice, and made it serie as a text for a neat discourse 
on the treatment of the Oriental races by the Anglo- 
Indian ruling class. This was not a mere casual out- 
burst adapted to the Western market : she preserved the 
same tone from lirst to last, and I have often heard her 
at Allahabad. Simla, Bombay, Madras, and elsewhere, 
use the same boldness of speech to the highest Anglo- 
Indian ofiBcials. 

One wav H. P. B. had of beguiling tedious hours 
after Isis f 'wrf/.V./ was off our hands, was to draw cari- 
catures on plavir.c-cards, bringing the pips into the pic- 
tures. Several of these clever productions were very 

472 Old Diary Leaves 

laughable. One, made out of the Ten of Clubs, was a 
minstrel performance ; the grotesque contortions of the 
" end men," the solemn caddishness of the " Interro- 
gator,'' and the amiable vacuity of the intermediates 
being admirably delineated. Another was a Spiritual- 
istic stance, with banjo, accordeons, and tambourines 
flying through the air, a bucket inverted over one " in- 
vestigator's " head, and an impish little elemental grin- 
ning from a lady's lap as she holds his forked tail in her 
hand under the impression that it is part of the body of 
some departed friend. A third card — made out of a 
Seven of Hearts, I think — shows two fat monks at a 
table laden with turkey, ham, and other delicacies, 
while bottles of wine stand ready at hand, and others 
are cooling in an ice vase on the floor. One of the rev- 
erend fathers, who has a most animal cast of features, 
is putting his hand behind him to receive a billet-doux 
from a prim servant-maid in cap and apron. Still an- 
other represents a policeman catching a runaway thief 
by the foot ; another, a couple of swell Tommies walk- 
ing with their sweethearts ; a third, a patriarchal negro, 
running with his black grandchild in his arms, etc., etc. 
Quite recently I have learnt that her late father had a 
special talent in this same direction, so it was quite easy 
to account for her cleverness. I told her I thought it a 
pity that she should not make up an entire pack in this 
fashion, as it would surely yield her a goodly sum as 
copyright. She said she should, but the mood did not 
last long enough to bring the desired result. 

Ci.=. ;i~-=.i5 cs F_i^ S3 C-i=.:s. 

The British Theosophical Society 473 

On the Sth July she took out her naturalisation 
papers, went with me to the Superior Court, and was 
duly sworn in as a citizen of the United States of 
America. She describes it thus in my Diary : " H. P. 
B. was made to swear eternal affection, devotion and 
defence to and of the U. S. Constitution, forswear every 
particle of allegiance to the Russian Emperor, and was 
made a ' Citizen of the U. S. of America.' Received 
her naturalisation papers and went home happy." Of 
course, the next day's American papers were full of ac- 
counts of the event, and reporters were sent to interview 
the new citizen, who made them all laugh with her naire 
opinions upon politics and politicians. 

The formation of the British Theosophical Society, 
in London (now called the London Lodge T. S.), occu- 
pied a good deal of my attention during the early 
summer months of 1S7S. This, our first Branch, was 
finally organised on June 27, by Dr. J. Storer Cobb, 
LL.D., Treasurer of the T. S,, whose visit to London at 
the time was availed of to make him my official agent 
for this purpose. Mr. Sinnett has kindly favoured me 
with the following copy of the record of the proceed- 
ings from the :\Iinute Book of the Lodc;e in his official 
custody ; which I publish, because of its historical 
interest : 

Meetixg of Fellows, 

Held at 3S Gn-af J?//ss,:7 Stn\'t, London, june 27, 1S7S. 
Present : Fellows, J. Storer Cobb, Treasurer (New 

474 Old Diary Leaves 

York Society), C. C. Massey, Dr. C. Carter Blake, Dr. 
George Wyld, Dr. H. J. Billing, and E. Kislingbury. 

Fellow J. Storer Cobb in the chair, read letters from 
Mr. Yarker, Dr. K. Mackenzie, Captain Irwin, and Mr. 
R. P. Thomas, expressing regret at their unavoidable 
absence, and sympathy with the objects of the meeting ; 
also a letter from Rev. W. Stainton Moses, stating that 
he was unable to take part in the meeting, having re- 
signed his Fellowship in the New York Society. 

Mr. Treasurer Cobb having stated President Olcott's 
instructions as to the basis of an English branch society, 
as communicated since a former meeting of Fellows in 
this place, proposed to retire, as it was not his intention 
to become a member of the new branch. On his being 
invited to remain as a listener, an informal discussion 
ensued, and it was finally Resolved, on the motion of 
Fellow Massey, seconded by Dr. H. J. Billing, " that, 
in the opinion of the English Fellows of the Theosophi- 
cal Society of New York, present at this meeting, it is 
desirable to form a Society in England, in connection 
and in sympathy with that body.'' 

In accordance with the paper of instructions received 
from the President, the meeting proceeded to discuss 
the question of a President of the Branch Society, and 
on the ballot being taken, C. C. Massey was found to be 
chosen President. 

Mr. Massey, in accepting the office, made a few re- 
marks and took the chair. It was proposed by him, 
and seconded by Dr. Carter Blake, that Miss Kislingbury 

The British Theosophical Society 475 

be Secretary to the Branch Society. This was carried 
and accepted by Miss Yi.,pro tern. 

The meeting was adjourned until further advices 
from New York, and the Secretary was requested to fur- 
nish a copy of these minutes to Col. Olcott (President) 
and a copy of the Resolution, above recorded, to the 
absent English members. 

The following memorandum was then drawn up and 
signed, and given to the Secretary to forward to Col. 

Olcott, viz. : 

" London, Vune 27, 1878. 

" Col. Henry S. Olcott, 

President of the T. S., New York. 
" I hereby certify that this day has been held a meet- 
ing at which has been formed an English branch of the 
above Society, of which Branch, Fellow Charles Carle- 
ton Massey has been, by ballot of the Fellows present, 

elected President. 

(Signed) " John Storer Cobb, 

Treasurer, N. Y. Society. 
(Signed) C. C. Massey." 

My official letters recognising the British Theosophi- 
cal Society and ratifying the proceedings at the above 
reported meeting, were written July 12, 1878, and sent 
to Mr. C. C. Massey and Miss E. Kislingbury, the 
President and the Secretary. 

There is an entry in my Diary for October 25th which 
is interesting as showing the faculty of clairvoyance that 
H. P. B. sometimes exercised. It says : 

476 Old Diary Leaves 

" O'Donovan, Wimbridge, H. P. B., and I were at 
dinner when the servant brought in a letter from Massey 
left at the moment by the postman. Before it came, H. 
P. B. announced its coming and nature, and when I 
received it and before the seal was broken, she said it 
contained a letter from Dr. Wyld, and read that also 
without looking at it." 

I recollect taking the cover from the hand of the ser- 
vant and laying it beside my plate, intending to defer 
reading it until we rose from the table. Between it and 
H. P. B. stood a large earthenware water-pitcher, yet 
while it lay there she first read the contents of Massey's 
letter and then those of the enclosure from Dr. Wyld. 
I find, moreover, that the covering letter had Mahdtmic 
writing on one of the pages, and that I returned it to 
the sender with a statement of the facts, signed by my- 
self and Mr. AVimbridge. 

It is a rather notable coincidence that several astrolo- 
gers, clairvoyants, and Indian ascetics should have 
prophesied that H. P. B. would die at sea. I find one 
of the sort noted on the page for November 2, 1878. 
A gentleman psychic, a friend of Wimbridge's, " foretold 
H. P. B.'s death at sea — a sudden death. Doubted that 
she would even reach Bombay." Majji, the Benares 
Yog{ni, made the same prognostic as to the place of 
H. P B.'s death and even the time, but neither proved 
correct. No more did a card-reader at New York who 
predicted H. P. B.'s death by murder before 1886. In 
entering the affair H. P. B. very naturally put two points 

Last Days in New York 477 

of exclamation after the word murder, and cynically- 
added the remark: " Nothing like clairvoyance ! " 

One of our visitors was more successful as a prophet, 
but he did not try his faculty on H. P. B. Here is the 
description I wrote of him in the Diarj- : 

" A mystical Hebrew physician. A strange, very 
strange man. Has prescience as to visitors, deaths, and 
a spiritual insight as to their maladies. Old, thin, stoop- 
ing ; his hair thin, fine, grizzled and stands out in all 
directions from his noble head. Rouges his cheeks to 
correct their unnatural pallor. Has a habit of throwing 
his head far back and looking up into space as he listens 
or converses. His complexion is waxen, his skin trans- 
parent and extremely thin. He wears summer clothing 
in the depth of winter. He has the peculiar habit of 
saying when about to answer : ' Veil, see he-ere, tee-ar ! ' " 

For thirty years he had studied the Kabbalah, and his 
conversations with H. P. B. were largely confined to its 
mysteries. He said one evening in my hearing that 
despite his thirty years' researches he had not discovered 
the true meanings that she read into certain texts, and 
that illumined them with a holy light. 

Our departure having been finally decided upon, I 
began in the autumn of 187S to get my worldly affairs 
into order. An active correspondence was kept up with 
our Bombay and Ceylon friends (a number of Buddhists 
and Hindus joined the T. S. by letter), our small 
library was shipped, and little by little our household 
goods were sold or given away. We made no parade of 

478 Old Diary Leaves 

intentions, but our rooms were thronged more than ever 
by the friends and acquaintances to whom they became 
known. H. P. B.'s entries in my Diary during my fre- 
quent absences from New York in the last weeks, testify 
to the nervous eagerness she felt to get away, and her 
fears that my plans might miscarry. In the entry of 
October 2 2d she writes — speaking of the urgency of 
our Mahatmas : " N — went off watch and in came S — 
with orders from — to complete all by the early part 
of December. Well, H. S. O. is playing his great final 
stake." There is reference here to the change of person- 
alities in the Intelligences controlling the H. P. B. body, 
and the entries in different handwritings support this 
idea. A similar entry occurs on November 14th, where 
it is said that we must use every exertion to get away by 
the 20th December at latest. There is a final paragraph 
on that page to this effect : " O gods, O India of the 
golden face, is this really the beginning of the end ! " 
On November 21st other urgent orders came through 
the same channel, and we were bidden to begin packing 
our trunks. Various persons wished to accompany us 
to India, and some made efforts to do so, but the party 
finally comprised but four — H. P. B., Miss Bates, an 
English governess, Mr. Wimbridge, an artist and archi- 
tect, and myself. On the 24th we were at it, and the 
following day the first of our intended party of four. 
Miss Bates, sailed for Liverpool, taking two of H. P. B.'s 
trunks with her. Again and again came the orders to 
hasten our departure. Writing about the unexpected 

Las: D-:v> •- Xev,- York 470 

ref ;;-.>;::■:- of a ;"e->er, ;i. P. B, fxo..:-::< : •■ Oh ! :h:i 
«rf :,: ~fc. rrc^a ; ".v~er. j.-.-t", \ve re r.i of ;: .' " The r.rx; 

rse.". o: 

v--.ii;e o_ 

on :he o;h. Th^: djiv <he -vr::;* : " W;::: :^ heh ^: f^ur 
-i"c v.-.:? rr',:>;r^~. /.^-v." .".; <:\. :r-.:".s.? 10 -•- — who -r-~krh 
:h? door .i"h Je-"y (,:he f-rv.:-:^ cou.d -o: ;;; ia. Go: 
up. hre,-.k;,-.j:fd wer.: cff ;:> :hf ?,;:;err to ~iee: 
— (,.'.11 occu.r.f; t~.^~"ec;eol \v::h the h. h;r of :he White 
Br."".er~oo J. C-'.r.:e h,'.x:h .~i: :wo .i"d found .ir. ir.ferr.Al 

f'r .'i jor.c. .■.? :hev f.:v :n A:"f:h'.". , ; r.M. — 

Sr :'■"::':.'•: c c.'».r : ?-'.ror. he P.s]ni e.hie,. ! S eved on .^ 

the T;:h I received froro. the ?tr5!drn: of the I'nited 

nt^on the T^r.totio.sDilitv of extendi:.; the c:n;nterei... 
rroved nsefn. htter on in. Inf.;,'., when H. ?. 5. .tnd I 

480 Old Diary Leaves 

1 find entries in the Diary sliowing that I ^ot scarcely 
any n-sl iliiring these latter d.iys, sitting nj) all night to 
write letters, rushing away to Philadelphia and other 
towns, snatcliinga morsel of food as] could get it : while 
throughout the whok' narrative sounds the jiooiu of the 
ordi'rs to depart before Ihe fixeil day of grai e — the 17th 
— should |iass away. 1 1. J'. I'.'s writing grows serateliy, 
and on the page for Deei-mher isth ] notice^ two of the 
above-uientioncd variants of luir si-ript, wlii( h show that 
her body was occupied by two of the Mahatrnas on that 
same evening. I had bought an h'.dison jihonograph of 
the original pattern, and on that evening (piite a num- 
ber of our members and rrien<ls, auujiig them a Mr. 
Johnston, whom lOdison had sent as his personal rc'pre- 
sentative (he being unavoidably absent), talked into IIm; 
voice-receivc.T messages lo our then known and unknown 
brothers in India. The several tinfoil sheets, [irop- 
erly marked for idcntific.ition, were carefully rcniovcc! 
from the cylinder, packed up, and they ar(' si ill kejit 
in the Adyar labrary, for the edification of future times.* 
Among the voices kept are those of H. P. li. — a very 
sharp and clear record, — myself, Mr. Judge; and his 

* Quite rcrcjiilly — viz., ill M:iy, 1B95 — I sunt tlicHi; tinfuil recnrds 
to Edison's London offii:c, to sec if they inigjit iint hu received on 
one of the modern wax cylinders and mi saved fur postcrily. Unfor- 
tunately, notliing could he doin: wiLli tliein, the Iiidciil,iti(in.s made by 
tlic voices having liccome almost (laltcncd out. It is a great |iity, for 
otherwise wo might have had duplicates l:ikcii off llic original, and 
thus have had II. 1'. li.'s strong voire sjicaUiiig audibly at our local 
iiicctines all over the world on " White hotiis Day," tlic anniversary 
of her death. 

Last Days in New York 481 

brother John, Prof. Alex. ^Vilder, Miss Sarah Cowell, 
two Messrs. Laffan, Mr. Clough, Mr. D. A. Curtis, Mr. 
Griggs, Mrs. S. R. Wells, Mrs. and Miss Amer, Dr. J. 
A. Weisse, Mr. Shinn, Mr. Terriss, Mr. Maynard, Mr. E. 
H. Johnston, Mr. O'Donovan, etc., of whom all were 
clever, and some very well known as authors, journalists, 
painters, sculptors, musicians, and in other ways. 

The 17th December was our last day on American 
soil. H. P. B.'s entry says : " Great day ! Olcott packed 
up. . . . what next ? All dark — but tranquil." And 
then comes, written in large letters, the heart-cry of joy, 
CoNSUMMATUM EST ! The closing paragraph reads thus : 
" Olcott returned at 7 p.m. with the tickets for the British 
Steamboat, the CiinaJa, and wrote letters until 1 1 130. 
Curtis and Judge passed the evening. Maynard took 
II. P. B. [See the writers always speaking of her in the 
third person] to dine at his house. She returned home 
at 9. He made her a present of a tobacco-pouch. 
Charles (our big cat) lost I ! At near 12, midnight, H. S. 
0. and H. P. B. took leave of the chandelier and drove 
off in a carriage to the steamer." So closes the first 
volume of the history of the Theosphical Society with the 
departure of its Founders from America. 

Behind them lay three years of struggles ; of obstacles 
surmounted ; of crude plans partly worked out ; of 
literary labour ; of desertions of friends ; of encounters 
with adversaries ; of the laying of broad foundations 
for the structure that in time was destined to arise for the 
gathering in of the nations, but the possibility of which 


Old Diary Leaves 


T. S. formed 

Jsis published .... 

British T. S. Cour first branch) formed \ 
Founders leave U. S. A. . ' 

Headquarters fixed at Bombay 
Theosophist founded 

Founders visit Ceylon 
Do. Simla . ... 

Headquarters fixed at Madras . 
H. S. O.'s first long Indian tour 

Coulomb and Missionary plot 

H. P. B. settles in Europe . 

H. S. O.'s second Indian tour . 

American Section formed . 

H. S. O.'s third Indian tour 
H. P. B. removes to London 

Blavatsky Lodge formed . 
Annie Besant joins the T. S. 

British Section formed 

H. P. B. dies .... 
H. S. O. goes around the world 
European Section formed . 

Annie Besant's first Indian tour 

iudicial Committee meets in 
ondon to try W. Q. Judge 










*The Branch statistics are compiled annually in the month of December for 
the President's Annual Address. 

Last Days in New York 483 

was then unsuspected by them. For they had builded 
better than they knew — better, at any rate, than I knew. 
What lay in the future we foresaw not. The words of 
H. P. B. show that : " All dark, but tranquil." The 
marvellous extension of our Society had not entered 
even into our dreams. An ex-officer of ours has pub- 
lished the statement that the Society had died a natural 
death before we left for India. The diagram opposite 
will show that, while it had dwindled to almost nothing, 
it began to revive from the moment its executive centre 
was shifted to India. 

We passed a wretched night on the ship, what with 
the bitter cold, damp bedding, no heating apparatus 
working, and the banging of tackle and rub-a-dub-dub 
of the winches getting in cargo. Instead of leaving 
early, the steamer did not get away from her wharf until 
2.30 P.M. on the i8th. Then, having lost the tide, she 
had to anchor off Coney Island and crossed the Sandy 
Hook bar only at noon on the 19th. At last we were 
crossing the blue water towards our Land of Promise ; 
and, so full was my heart with the prospect, that I did 
not wait on deck to see the Navesink Highlands melt 
out of view, but descended to my cabin and searched for 
Bombay on my Map of India. 
























Adept, a noble one, 248 ; per- 
sonal description of, 379 ; a 
Hungarian, teaches me, 275 ; 
writing— genuine and false, 

Adepts Lodge, universal, 18 ; 
African section of, 75-78 ; 
how they can legitimately in- 
terfere, 78 ; are men, not 
spirits, 237 ; their hand- 
writing varies from time to 
time, 256 ; precipitates writing 
through mediums, 257 

Aksakoff, Hon. A., asks our 
help, 79-81 

Alden, Mr. W. L., his strange 
acquaintance, 123 

Ange, Marie, case of, 329 

Angels, entertaining unawares, 

Arabs, starving, rescued, 298-g ; 

Ari Magic, Mrs. Britten's story 
about, 186 ; marked a literary 
epoch in America, 188 ; plagi- 
arisms in, 189 ; personality of 

the author, 193 ; pretended 
portrait of the author, 194 ; 
Mrs. Britten's letter to Lady 
Caithness, 200 
Authority, pretended, adds no 
value, 261 


B., Signer, warns me against 

H. P. B., 64 
Ballard, Miss, meets H. P. B. in 

1873. 21 
Beard, Dr. , H. P. B. attacks him, 

32, 67 

Bells, the astral, 425 ; of M. A. 
Oxon, 427 

Bilocations, 383 

Blavatsky, Madame, her personal 
appearance, 4 ; her sexless- 
ness, 6 ; her battle wounds, 9 ; 
professes herself a spiritualist, 
12-15 i ordered to New York, 
20 ; fails to establish a society 
at Cairo, 22 ; had no fore- 
knowledge of the future T. S., 
25 ; at Paris in 1873, 27 ; her 




Blavatsky, Madame — Continued. 
impulsive generosity, 29 ; in- 
herits her patrimony, 30 ; per- 
sonal traits, 33 ; classification 
of her psychic powers, 37 ; 
phenomena at Philadelphia, 
40-54; causes herself to vanish, 
46 ; suggestion, hypnotic, 47, 
49 ; the real H. P. B., 50 ; 
her second marriage, 55 ; calls 
herself a spiritualist, 69 ; her 
sort of spiritualism, 71 ; her 
"first occult shot," 102; her 
literary history, 103 ; an inter- 
preter for the adepts, 106 ; her 
linguistic ability, 106 ; her style 
of writing, 107 ; first open pro- 
paganda of Eastern ideas, 108 ; 
launching of the occult idea, 
no; denies that she was founder 
of the T. S., 137 ; changes of 
personality, 212; passionate na- 
ture, 213, 257 ; admits that her 
body was occupied by others, 
216 ; in early youth associated 
with "familiars," 222 ; her 
"double lives" in Mingrelia 
and similar cases, 227 ; draw- 
ing upon the stored-up wis- 
dom in the ether, 230 ; her 
interest better served by ac- 
knowledging quotations, 230 ; 
Hindu theory of the " knower, " 
233 ; known in but three ca- 
pacities, 252 ; the " fiery Dol- 
goroukis," 258 ; her qualifica- 
tions as an agent for the 
adepts, 259 ; danger of vio- 
lently suppressing personal 
defects, 263 ; was she killed at 

Mentana ? 264 ; proof of at- 
tempt to enter Tibet in 1854, 
265 ; obsession and possession 
defined, 266 ; A'ves'a the 
proper Sanskrit word for the 
occupation of another body, 
269 ; Eastern rules for doing 
this, 272, 273 ; signs of " oc- 
cupancy " of her body by 
others, 289-293 ; adepts some- 
times speak of her as a man, 
293; her " phenomena" calcu- 
lated to injure her with Orien- 
tals, 306 ; visits " M. A. 
Oxon," in double, 324 ; walks 
through rain — remains dry, 
350 ; how she appeared at 
home, 408 et seq.j offering tea 
ad lib, 410 ; queer housekeep- 
ing, 411 ; the charm of her 
salon^ 424 ; explanation of 
astralbells, 426 ; special errand 
to Buffalo, 440 ; personal traits, 
449 ; not an ascetic, 451 ; 
money box for Arya Samaj, 
455 ; a splendid pianist, 458 ; 
merciless on hypocrites, 460 ; 
her many " only friends," 462 ; 
her portraits made, 464 ; love 
for the Hindus, 471 ; talent 
for caricatures, 472 ; becomes 
an American citizen, 473 ; 
clairvoyance, 476 ; death of, 
falsely prophesied, 476 

Bodily "occupation" fully ex- 
plained, 270 

Britten, Mrs. Hardinge, putative 
author of Art Magic, 185 

Brown, E. Gerry, relations with, 



Buddha's rebuke of the public 
display of Iddhi, 307 

Evolution of the self, ancient 
rules for, 315 

Cairo, H. P. B. fails to establish 

a society at, 22 
Centres, the six vital, or Chak- 

ras, 276, 365 


Das-Pandit, S. C, deciphers a 
Tibetan line, 263 

Dead, relations with, how viewed 
in East and West, 304 ; Eastern 
religions unanimously hostile 
to it, 305 

"Double," projection of, 374; 
what D'Assier says, 374 ; 
"Phantasms of the Living," 
374 ; projection no sign of 
high spirituality, 375 ; adept 
appears and disappears, 376 ; 
adept visits me in astral body, 
377 ; projection of, common, 
383 ; I project my own, 385, 
390, 391 ; Des Mousseaux on, 
388 ; my double seen by many 
persons, 392 

Eddy Homestead, description 
of, 7 ; phantasms seen at, 8 

Edison, T. A., on mental tele- 
graphy, 467. 

Elementals, and elementaries, 
72 ; as servants, 270 ; good and 
bad, attracted to certain trees, 
316; shown me, III; when 
first defined by us, 102 

Felt, Mr. J. H., on the Egyptian 
Canon of Proportion, 1 15-1 17 ; 
makes a personal explanation, 1 
126-131 ; fails to make good 
his promises, 139 
Fire-balls, appearance of, 326 
Forces, control of nature's brute, 

Founders, first meeting of the, 
I ; last days in Neir York, 
478 ; leave for India, 481 

Germain, Count St., calumnies 

against, 241 
Ghost of " Old Shep," 333 


Handwriting, adepts genuine 
and false, 260 ; varies from 
time to time, 256 ; precipitated 
through mediums, 257 ; vari- 
ation of the H. P. B. script, 


laphygians, the, 249 

/sis Unveiled, the writing of, 
202, etseq.; germ of the sub- 
sequent work, 203 ; how the 
quotations were obtained, 207 ; 
how she worked at it, 209 ; 
acknowledges her own unfit- 
ness for writing, 223 ; books 



Jsis Unveiled — Continued. 

for reference phenomenally 
produced, 209 ; help of adepts, 
210 ; MSS. written for her, 
while asleep, 211 ; her descrip- 
tion of her manner of work, 
213; the " luminous self," 216 ; 
superfluous copy destroyed, 
217 ; the work rewritten, 218 ; 
various theories of its produc- 
tion analysed, 221 ; jumbled- 
up MSS. required infinite 
corrections, 224 ; alleged plagi- 
arisms, 226 ; was it written 
by mediumship ? 236 ; a spirit 
helper, 238 ; variants of H. 
P. B. script, 243 ; H. P. B.'s 
body occupied by others, 244 ; 
the various "somebodies" who 
did this, 245 ; II. P. B. lends 
her body like a typewriter, 
246; identifying the "some- 
bodies," 247 ; H. P. B. some- 
times wrote from dictation, 
249 ; critical analysis of the 
English of /nV, 252 ; a col- 
laborated work, of which the 
personality of H. P. B. was 
the mould, 255 ; sensation on 
its appearance — sale unpre- 
cedented, 294 ; criticisms, 296 


Jenny, little, and her mate, 430 ; 
touching death of, 429 

Judge, Mr. W. Q. , excuses him- 
self for inaction, 143 

Jugglers, Egyptian, pretended 
expose, 332 


Kabbalist, a mystical, 477 
Karma, taught from the first, 
237 ; makes a money present, 
444 ; dips into poetry, 444 
King, John, an elemental (?), 9 

" Lamasery " at New York, life 

at, 409 et seq. , description of, 

Leaf picture, another description 

of, 456 
Lebanon, Countess Paschkoffs 

adventure with H. P. B. in, 


Liebert, Mile. P., fails to pro- 
duce spirit photographs, 195 ; 
defies H. P. B. to reproduce 
phenomenally the pretended 
photographs of the author of 
Art Magic, Kfl; H. P. B. does 
it, 198 ; this portrait fades out 
and is made to reappear, igg 

Light, an inrush of, 248 


Mahatma, K. H., knows Eng- 
lish, 262 

Massey, Mr. C. C, a founder of 
the T. S., 59, 134 

Masters, blameless for agents' 
mistakes, 77 

Maya or illusion, 360 ; theory of, 

Mediums, a plea for, 82 ; choos- 
ing, for St. Petersburg, 84 



Mediumship, a danger, 8j ; and 
adeptship irreconcilable, 191 ; 
and physiology, 191 ; in real, 
there is a lowering of the 
medium's temperature, 92 ; of 
Mrs. Youngs, 85 ; of Mrs. 
Thayer, 88-92 ; mock, 465 

Meerut, my lecture at, 405 

Memories, active and latent, 231 

Memory, a lapse of, 381 

Mental telegraphy, 467 ; Edison 
on, 467 

Metallic nucleus required for 
metallic phenomena, 355 

Metals, transmutation of, 355, 356 

Mind, duplex action of, 234; 
and will, their functions, 140 

Moloney, the Odyssey of, 457 

Moses, Mr. Stainton, 60 ; our 
intercourse with, 300 ; his 
mediumship, 311, 312 ; curious 
resemblance between his and 
our teachers, 320 


Nature, dead child a failure of, 


" Occupation," bodily, fully ex- 
plained, 270 

O'Donovan, the sculptor, teases 
H. P. B., 412 

" Odour of sanctity," 329 

Orient, all Western occultism 
derived from, 105 

Palm, Baron de, connection with 
the society, 147 ; biography, 
148 ; deaths, 149 ; cremation 

first determined upon, 150; 
obstacle, New York Society 
backs out, 151 ; obsequies, 
" Egyptian funeral," 1 51-159 ; 
a riot averted, 155; my dis- 
course, 156 ; estate bankrupt, 
159 ; no literary talent or 
scholarship, 161 ; calumny 
that he had written Isis Un- 
veiled, 162 ; shady antece- 
dents, 163; cremation, 166-184 
Paracelsus, is he dead ? 240 
Paschkoff, Countess, her ad- 
venture with H. P. B. in the 
Lebanon, 334 
Passports, diplomatic, sent me, 


Personality, changes in H. P. 
B.'s, 212 ; and individuality 
contrasted, 285 

Phenomena, rain making, 61 ; 
remarkable acrostic, 74 ; a 
ring found in a rose, 94 ; dia- 
monds set into a plain ring, 
96 ; the varied — of the West, 
98 ; Orientals discouraged 
them, 99 ; the elementals 
shown me. III ; pencils dupli- 
cated, 245 ; 11. P. B. writes a 
Hindi note, 262 ; a misty form 
rises from H. P. B.'s body, 
267 ; black Hindu hair cut 
from H. P. B.'s head, 267 ; 
resuscitation of a dead Rajah, 
274 ; story of the s'andalwood 
bowl, 306 ; scents from the 
bodies of psychics, 325, 327, 
328 ; three fireballs, 326 ; evo- 
cation of picture of ancient city 
by H. P. B., 355 ; H. P. B. 



Phehomena — G'fifi/uirJ. 
makes perfumed beads, 336 ; 
tissues, 338-340 ; control of 
nature's brute forces, 343 ; toy 
sheep made, 344 ; hybrid 
sugar-tongs made, 346 ; her 
mystic ring made, 347 ; har- 
monicon made, 349 ; chair 
unwetted in rain storm, 350 ; 
Chinese pictures made, 351 ; 
portraits deranged, 35:; ; a 
letter duplicated, 352 ; a five 
page letter copied, 353 ; water- 
colours made, 354 ; letter to 
adept phenomenally answered, 
359 ; lock of beard suddenly 
lengthened, 361 ; precipitation 
in colours, 362 ; picture of an 
astral body made in satin, 364 ; 
silver coin made, 371 ; thought 
transference, 372 ; thought 
reading at a distance, 414 ; a 
written paper made to appear 
on a wall, 414 ; H. V. B. 
duplicates stamped letters, 
417 ; butterfly phenomenon, 
15 ; grapes phenomenally 
made, 17 ; letters phenomen- 
ally dealt with in transit, 36 ; 
at Philadelphia, 40-54 ; por- 
trait of deceased produced, 5S ; 
adept appears and disappears, 
376 ; adept visits me in astral 
body, 377 ; I project my own 
double, 385, 3go, 391 ; hunters, 
selfishness of, 309 ; an ink- 
spoiled dress restored, 431 ; 
H. P. B. befooled by, in the 
desert, 432 ; illusive duplica- 
tion of money, 434 ; money 

phenomenally supplied, 435 : 
" John King" gives money, 
441 ; golden writings made, 

445 ; a needed address given, 

446 ; Turkish pipes, etc., pro- 
duced, 447 ; reduction of 
weight, 453 ; gold sleeve 
button duplicated, 469 ; visit- 
ing cards made, 470 

Phonograph, messages to India 

talked into, 4S0 
Picture in dried leaves, 420 
Platonist, an old spirit, 239 ; 
the spirit helper, was he an 
adept? 242 
Portrait, adept gives me his, 
371 ; ^Ir. Schmieken paints 
portraits of two adepts, 372 
Powers, psychic, must be re- 
strained, 30S 
Precipitation of pictures, 358 et 
seq, ; of Tiruvallavar yogi's 
portrait, 367 ; pictures in 
colours, 362 ; picture of an 
astral body, 364 
Press propaganda, 67 
Psychology, masters of, 310 
Pujusha and Prakriti, 355 

Reincarnation, 277 ; the doctrine 
not taught us at New York, 
27S ; our early version, 279 ; 
active discussion in iSyS, 2S2 ; 
when doctrine was first adopted 
by us, 284 : Buddhist Oite- 
chism on, 2S4 ; when first put 
forth by A. P. Sinnett, 2S6 ; 
post mortem journeys of soul, 
287 ; when first taught by A. O. 



Reincarnation — Coniimicd. 

Hume, 287 ; H. P. B. honest 

in early repudiation of, 28S 
Repercussion exemplified and 

explained, 388 ; on physical 

body, case of, 390 
Resuscitation of a dead Rajah, 

Reynolds, Mary, case of, 22g 
Roff, Mary, case of, 22S 

Samaj, the Arya, a sectarian 
body, 398-403 

Saras^■ati, Swami Dyanand, 394 
(■/ scq. : bitterly reproaches us 
for eclecticism, 406 

Scents from the bodies of 
psychics, 325, 327, 328 

Shell, the, 217 

Sheppard, Jesse, 63 

Slade, Dr., the medium chosen 
for the St. Petersburg commit- 
tee, loi 

Spark, the silvery, in the brain, 

" Speer circle," evils of mixed 
circles, etc., 317 

Spirit, the supreme factor in phe- 
nomena, 357 

Spiritualism, Mr. Owen throws a 
blight upon, 35 

Temperaments, and elementals, 

Theosophical Society, its origin, 
113 ; I suggest its formation, 
118 ; published reports of its 
lormation, 119; original basis 

of, 120 ; official report of or- 
ganisation proceedings, 121 et 
scq. ; oflicers elected, 135 ; 
President's inaugural address, 
136 ; organisation dwindles, 
butvitality intensely sustained, 
141 ; the New York nucleus 
inactive, for reasons shown, 
143 ; the seed planted at New 
York in time germinates, 144 ; 
the policy of secrecy adopted, 
145 ; seal adopted, 146 ; secrecy 
an innocent precaution, 146 ; 
devotion to it the best path 
towards the adepts, 294 ; New 
York, headquarters of, 330 ; 
spiritualists withdraw, 330 ; 
headquarters life an ideal one, 
331 ; ground plan of New York 
house, 378 ; British, when 
formed, 398 ; its declared ob- 
jects, 399 ; oHicial report on, 
473 ; early declaration of its 
principles, 400, 401 ; routine 
of the " Lamasery " at New 
York, 409 ; New York head- 
quarters described, 421, 422 ; 
project to unite with Masonry, 
46S ; history of sham at one 
glance, 4S2 

Thought transference, 372 ; read- 
ing at a distance, 414 

Treasure buried, its finding de- 
pends on Karma, 438 

Vikramaditya, King, conquers an 
obstinate princess, 271 

Wilder, Prof. A., described, 412